Alekka is taking a Spring semester course in Anthropology. Her teacher asked me last month if I’d be willing to present a guest lecture on folklore. My first reaction was, not possible, I haven’t thought about folklore in 25 years. But in an international school, it’s duties as assigned, and teachers have to make use of the resources at hand. The correct response is, “Sure! I’d love to!” and then you jump right in. So I said I’d do it.
I sat down and drew up an outline for an 80-minute introduction to folklore and folkloristics. I was happily surprised to find it all coming back to me. The best part was, as I was planning for (and fretting about) my presentation, I started not only seeing folklore everywhere – that tendency has never quite left me – but also thinking about what it all means. Structuralists, Freudians, functionalists, behaviorists, text analysts, Marxists, feminists: I miss you. I almost want to finish that dissertation (I said almost).
The Holy Week processions in Sorrento gave me plenty of material to illustrate different ways of interpreting folklore. Check out this video of the White Procession, which takes place from 3 a.m. until dawn on Good Friday.
I’m happy to report that my little talk went over pretty well. Thanks are due to my friend Sukey, professor of folklore and popular culture and all-around awesome human being, who provided me with an excellent opening activity. It was so much fun, I hope I get invited to do it again.
Here are some more pictures from the Holy Week events in Sorrento and surrounding towns.