Journal

Midwinter Nordic Traditions: Celebrating the Harvest, Honoring the Light

Cultural traditions Himmeli

Midwinter Nordic Traditions: Celebrating the Harvest, Honoring the Light

Many pagan solstice traditions from Northern Europe are the cultural roots of modern Christmas traditions found throughout the Western world. For example, the yule log, now thought to be the name of a fancy holiday dessert, was part of an ancient tradition commemorating the return of longer days. An entire tree was brought into the home for midwinter festivities and burned in the fireplace, large end first. For several nights, nearing the longest night of the year, the tree would gradually be fed into the fire. The warmth and light from the burning tree welcomed the return of the Sun...

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Color, Identity, and Culture

Cultural traditions Dyeing Traditional Techniques

Color, Identity, and Culture

Throughout human history, people have attributed power and meaning to color. Humans have made great efforts to harness that power, to use color as an expression of identity. Even today, in Western cultures, there is a science of color that examines its psychological effects. For example, red is associated with excitement, green with peace, yellow with optimism, and purple with creativity. But does color convey the same meaning across different cultures? The Maasai, for example, use a complex language of color in their beadwork. Red is associated with strength, bravery, and protection and is compared to the blood of a cow...

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Supporting Global Artisans Through Craft

Cultural traditions Women artisans

Supporting Global Artisans Through Craft

We are excited to announce that Folkways Culture Kits is now partnering with Nest! Nest is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the global handworker economy, the well-being of women artisans, and the preservation of cultural traditions around the world. Folkways shares this vision, centered on the relevance of indigenous craft in a modern world, the values of fair trade, and especially the importance of supporting women economically and socially as a centerpiece of community strength. We are especially excited to be supporting Nest’s Artisan Accelerator program. Since 2018, this program has served as an incubator of artisan-based businesses, helping...

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The Deep Roots Of Basketry

Coiled Basketry Cultural traditions Traditional Techniques

The Deep Roots Of Basketry

Traditional examples of basketry can be found in nearly every place in the world that has been inhabited by humans. Basketry, a form of weaving, has been used to make sandals, mats, huts, fish nets, fences for animals, beehives, hats, filters for beer or wine, strainers, rafts, and all forms of storage containers by folks all over the world. Some of the most ancient evidence of basketry can be found in dry caves sites in the now western United States. The arid environmental conditions have allowed for the preservation of materials that would have long degraded in a wetter place....

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Weaving: This Most Ancient Craft is Part of Being Human

Cultural traditions Traditional Techniques Weaving

Weaving: This Most Ancient Craft is Part of Being Human

Did you know that weaving is most likely the oldest craft tradition known to humankind? Archaeological evidence indicates that weaving has been around for at least 20,000 years. Weaving materials to create fencing, nets, sandals, baskets, and textiles has been part of our human heritage for many hundreds of generations. Even braiding hair is a form of weaving! Perhaps this is why the simple act of weaving- stitching over and under and over and under- can be such a meditative and deeply satisfying process, producing a flow state and a respite from the busyness of the day.  In fact, weaving is so...

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