World Folktales & Fables Week takes place every year during the third week of March and this year, it will run from March 17 to 23. The holiday is not driven or held by any one organization — it’s down to individuals and groups to decide how they celebrate it. This event is dedicated to encouraging everyone to explore the lessons and cultural background of folktales, fables, myths, and legends from around the world. Much like the folktales and fables the holiday stands for, it is an affair that’s taken as far as an individual is comfortable with, but it has great potential to unite people.
History of World Folktales & Fables Week
Humans have been telling tales and fables since our species knew how to talk. Our early ancestors spent countless nights beside fires and huddled together in the dark while stories were told. These folktales and fables are rich in cultural references and are passed down through generations. As we grew as a civilization, so too did our stories. Myths of families and tribes from the dawn of our species have mostly been lost to time now, but the myths of ancient civilizations from around the world have lived on for hundreds of years and are still retold and remade today, often morphing as they stretch across countries and continents.
If you’re wondering how prevalent these stories are in our society, think about the last time you watched a show or read a book where the main character was a thief that gave to the poor; or there was an insurmountable challenge that your protagonist overcame through quick-thinking and being underestimated. They are concepts that were popularized in the stories of “Robin Hood” and “Tales of Odysseus.” The story of the goodhearted thief originated sometime during the 13th century and “Tales of Odysseus” was a story that was told from 750 B.C. These are folktales from England and Greece that have persisted for centuries and become highly popular in modern society.
Besides these two examples, there are hundreds of folktales and fables that have become so entwined with how our cultures and how we tell stories that it’s impossible to separate what’s old and new. The classic French Cinderella tale by Charles Perrault, written in the 1690s, is actually only one of more than 500 versions discovered in Europe alone. This intrinsic storytelling nature of humans is why this week of celebration is so important.
World Folktales & Fables Week timeline
The earliest-known evidence of visual storytelling is found in a cave in France, dating back to this time period.
The famed Greek storyteller, Aesop, tells his fables that become known for their animal characters.
The origin of the fairytales that we tell today is produced.
The first video game ever made is released — it heralds a new age of storytelling in a visual format.
World Folktales & Fables Week FAQs
What’s the difference between folktales and fables?
Folktales are stories that are told orally and passed down through the generations while fables are a category of folktales and are more about teaching a moral lesson than holding history.
What is the most famous fable?
“Aesop’s Fables” are the most famous collection of fables and come from the ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop.
What makes a fable?
A fable is characterized by its short length and always has a moral to be learned. An iconic example of a fable is “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
World Folktales & Fables Week Activities
Tell a story
Grab a book and a loved one, sit them down, and read them your literature of choice. Make it something you both enjoy, and study the story to learn about its value and origin.
Write your own story
If you have been itching to start that novel that’s been stewing in your head for a while, World Folktales & Fables Week is the perfect time to write it. Set a goal of writing 10 words a day, then increase that goal by 20 — until suddenly you’ve written your first book.
Share a story
The whole point of folktales and fables is to encourage collaborative storytelling so play your part in sharing a story. After all, the common stories today have been told and retold, edited, and reimagined as they were passed down through the generations.
5 Intriguing Facts About Storytelling
This art is as old as language
Experts speculate that the art of storytelling is a form of communication that is as old as language itself.
We tell stories all the time
Roughly 65% of our daily conversations consist of stories — whether it’s about our frustrations, a retelling of an event, or just some fun anecdotes.
People are more receptive to storytelling
A study in 2008 concluded that humans are far more engaged by the information presented as a story than as simple facts.
We tell recycled stories
Many of the fables and tales we cherish today came from a book called “Grimms’ Fairy Tales,” published in 1812.
Keep it for general audiences
Many of the stories from “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” and ancient cultures were originally far more dark and gory before being refined into the more lighthearted versions most of us know today.
Why We Love World Folktales & Fables Week
We get to tell a story about stories
It might sound odd — but every article we write is a story in its own right. We get to craft a narrative as we explain the history of holidays and why they matter.
It brings people together
Stories have always brought people together. History and civilizations have been built on the notion of the stories we sell and tell to each other.
Stories make us human
Humans are defined by our need to create and share stories. From the books we write to the multi-million movies and shows we create for others to watch, stories are such an integral part of our culture and society as a whole that it’s impossible to separate one from the other.
World Folktales & Fables Week dates