WEA Evening Course: Session 2005
|Title of course:||
DISCOVERING OUR TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
|Venue:||Christchurch Church Rooms, London Road, Coalville, Leics., England|
|Duration:||8 meetings of 1½ hours = 12 guided learning hours|
|Time:||7.30 pm to 9.00 pm|
|Start Date:||Tuesday 4 October 2005|
|Half term break:||Tuesday 1 November 2005|
|End date:||Tuesday 29 November 2005|
|Tutor:||Peter Millington. [Home Page: http://petemillingon.uk/]|
The aims of this course was to introduce students to the varied heritage of English folklore and traditional customs that surrounds them, both locally and nationally.
During the course the learners were introduced to the social factors and processes that mould traditions and customs. They received guidance on gathering information on traditions and customs from documentary sources and face-to-face contacts. Learners were helped to interpret evidence with particular reference to the origins and history of our customs and traditions.
The topics covered included:
- Folklore concepts - including comparisons with the students' personal perceptions
- Seasonal customs (e.g. Christmas, New Year, Easter, and Halloween)
- Customary practices (e.g. rites of passage, occupational traditions)
- Traditional performance arts (e.g. folk songs, morris dancing, tales, and folk drama.)
- Superstitions, sayings, legends, etc.
- Children's traditional activities (e.g. games, counting out, beliefs, etc.)
- Modern folklore
- Tradition and revival - including origins, evolution, demise, etc.
As a result of this course it was possible for learners to:
- Have an overview of the folk tradition in context to appreciate the social and personal relevance today and in the past.
- Be able to collect folklore information effectively from varied sources in order to share with others.
- Appreciate the similarities and differences between traditions from different periods, geographical areas and genres.
- Understand how traditions and customs develop and their links to seasonal cycles.
Teaching/learning methods included:
- Informal illustrated lectures combined with lively practical class activities.
- Local examples drawn from the East Midlands.
- Encouraging students to explore their own personal knowledge and experience of folklore, and to gather information from family and friends.
- Compiling a class archive of folklore information - possibly for publication on the Web.
- Encouraging students to participate in the enactment of traditional activities in class.
No previous knowledge was necessary, although an interest in vernacular arts and local or oral history would have been an advantage. All were welcome, including students originating from outside the East Midlands.
During the course, the tutor offered information and advice about further opportunities for learning. These included local or family projects, university courses and opportunities for traditional performance.
County Folklore: Leicestershire & Rutland.
London, Folk Lore Society, 1895. Facsimile reprint: Llanerch-Folklore Society, 1997
Eddie Cass & Steve Roud
"Room, room, Ladies and Gentlemen" An Introduction to the English Mummers' Play.
London, EFDSS & Folklore Society, 2002, ISBN 0-854181-85-7
The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain.
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996. Reprinted: Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997
The People in the Playground.
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993
The Folklore of Leicestershire and Rutland.
Sycamore, Wymondham, c.1985
The National Trust Guide to Traditional Customs of Britain.
Exeter, Webb & Bower, 1985
Jaqueline Simpson & Steve Roud
A Dictionary of English Folklore.
Oxford, University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-19-210019-X
Customs in Common.
Merlin Press, 1991. Reprinted: Harmonsworth, Penguin Books, 1993, ISBN 0-14-012556-6