Friday, June 25, 2010

Faith in Love Restored

One of the most common folklore motifs is love. Puppy love, unrequited love, lost love, and love reclaimed. The last is perhaps one of the most profoundest human experiences. Short of never losing sight of love, reclaiming the faith one has lost in it is something everyone hopes to experience in the course of their lives.

Here is a poem about that by Danielle Joy Linehart, author of From Deep Within: Bruised and Blind. Whomever she addresses this folk poem to must be a very special person.


I love you
What does that mean?
I am sorry
Does that mean it won’t happen again?
Something that I never knew
The day I met you
You showed me the meaning of “Us”
The meaning of a relationship
Thank you
For that special note
The dozen roses
The phone call just to say “I Miss You”
The support
Most of all
The love that you give me
Without you
I would never have gained back
The love that I once lost.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums.

There are plenty of great activities planned. Here is a partial list of the evening music/dance concert highlights:

== Bhangra and Giddha: Folk Dances of Punjab
== Mariachi Tradicional Los Tíos, Hamac Caziim, Grupo de Fandango de Artesa Los Quilamos
== A Tribute to Haiti featuring Boukman Eksperyans, with special guest Tines Salvant
== Halau Ho'omau, Hakka Association in Washington, Hakka TungFa Chorus of Greater Washington

There is no admission charge. Visitors should dress for hot and humid weather. Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so visitors are advised to use Metrorail. The Smithsonian station (Mall exit) is at the Festival site. Federal Triangle and National Archives stations are close by. For general Smithsonian visitor information, call 202.633.1000 (voice) or 202.357.1729 (TTY).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strawberry Folklore

Strawberries are a popular summer fruit. They share the season’s bounty basket with cherries, apples, pears, peaches and nectarines (and others). Ironically, though, the strawberry really isn’t a fruit. It’s a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. Most of us are more familiar with the Fragaria strawberry which has a perfumed flesh.

Even though it lacks a fruit card-carrying membership, it is anything but shy of foodlore!
Take its name, for example. The word strawberry is believed to have been derived from the words strewn berry because the berries were strewn among the leaves of the plants. Over time strewn berry became pronounced as strawberry (in much the same way that over time sparrow’s grass became known as asparagus).

During medieval times the strawberry was considered as a symbol of wealth and well-being. As a result they were a desired commodity.

Long considered by Europeans to be a beauty and health aid, folklore records note that in France the nobility used to bathe in strawberries to keep their skin glowing and clear. Many people today still use them for treating skin rashes and sun burn.

But true to the nature of folklore in which something like the strawberry can have different meanings to different cultures, the strawberry was considered hazardous in certain parts of South America.

The Seneca Indians linked strawberries to spring and rebirth because they were the year’s first fruit. As such they hold a special place in the culture and, therefore, bring good health.

And, of course, there are the Roman legends about strawberries. Most commonly, that when Adonis died, Venus wept tears that dropped to the earth and became heart shaped strawberries.

From growing to harvesting to preserving and presenting, strawberries certainly have, over the centuries, captured the minds and hearts of many people.

It’s pretty amazing to think that such a small fruit can hold so much foodlore. But consider this: food is an essential life ingredient and as a result has been the topic of many conversations and stories.