Folklore And Mythology

Although one certainly grades into the other and it is impossible to generalize across every situation, there are some marked differences between folk tales and stories classified as mythology. Myths are typically more infused with expressions of the unconscious and have more symbolic or religious significance than folk tales. Entire societies are grounded in myths, not folklore. Myths also accompany rituals and ceremonies much more so than folk tales. For example, myths are a common medium for reenactments of the past, such as the creation of the world or other significant events in a culture's history. This is true sometimes for stories treated as folklore, but they are much less engrained with ritual or any extended meaning much beyond the particular focus of the tale. In general, folk tales tend to be more for entertainment, whereas myths tend to be more for spiritual instruction.

Folk tales and superstitions serve a variety of purposes, some of which reveal possible reasons for their origin. Some beliefs and tales deal with societal problems and incompatibilities between culture and nature. Some are used as vehicles for wish fulfillment or as a means to speculate on explanations for phenomena observed in nature. They also may serve as mere tales for the enjoyment and entertainment of both the teller and the listener. Other tales serve to instill moral lessons or provide instructions for living one's life in a particular way. Such tales, because they are inherently interesting and entertaining, are particularly suited to providing historical or moral instruction to young minds that might otherwise be unre-ceptive to such teachings.

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