Monday, January 19, 2015

Animal Lore

Legendary Creatures of Columbia
Want to know about Columbian customs, beliefs and cultural traditions? Take a look at its folklore.  Many traditional folk stories revolve around legendary creatures that have been passed on for generations. This folklore is rooted in Spanish culture, but it also has ties to both Native American and African American cultures as well.
Here are some of the most popular legendary Columbian creatures:
One Foot
This creature lives in the jungle and is always looking for prey. It is especially seen as frightening by young children.
The Moan
This creature lives in both the forest and river. Considered to be a protector in the forest, it also takes women and disturbs those trying to fish or hunt in the forest.
The Llorona
This weeping woman is a ghost that mourns the loss of a child she killed by drowning. When she is seen, it is believed that death is near.
The Madremonte
This creature is called the mother of the forest and is one of the creatures that actually protects rather than causing harm. However, she only protects the forest and the animals that live within it. She gets rid of the humans trying to destroy the animals in the forest. This folkloric figure is often identified with Mother Nature.
The Hombre Caiman
This alligator-human form is most prominent in South American folklore. Many say it is the spirit of a fisherman near the Magdalena River that was swallowed by an alligator. He returns every year to hunt victims on St. Sebastian’s Day.
These are among the more common creatures in Columbian folklore.  They all teach lessons about how to behave in society as well as how to treat the natural world.
Interested in other legendary animals? Check out the Inuit creatures.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sagas of Iceland

Literary  Legend: Snorri Sturluson

There have been writers and poets throughout history whose works have influenced others well beyond the time of their creation. One such example: the Sagas of Iceland by poet, writer, and historian Snorri Sturluson.  

What are the Sagas of Iceland?
This part of literary history - Saga-Age - is also referred to as the family sagas of Iceland during the 10th and 11th centuries and was known as the height of Icelandic literature. Snorri Sturluson is one of the few saga authors whose works can clearly be attributed to him. For example,  Egils Sag is believed to have been written by him because the story involves a hero who is related to Sturluson. However, it has never been completely proven if Sturluson is the credible author of this work.
Other Writings
Sturluson is not just known for his Sagas of Iceland. He is also an author of Heimskringla, which is a history of Norwegian Kings through medieval Scandinavian history. It is the style of this book that helped to tie Sturluson to the Eglis Saga’s similar style. 
Other Contributions to Culture
As a historian and elected member of the Icelandic Parliament, Sturluson was also recognized for his hypothesis about mythological gods. It was his theory that the gods were originally human war leaders who rose from their funeral sites. People called upon to go to battle eventually were no longer viewed as mortals, but as diving beings. His idea also included the notion that when tribes conquered others they would give the gods the credit for their victory.