Sometimes there’s a lot of confusion as to what folklife and folklore actually are. Hopefully this page will help clear it up!

This section is a compilation of answers to the questions most commonly asked by people. Just start by following one of the links below. If you can’t find the question you wanted to ask, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  1. What is folklife?

    In short, folklife is handed-down culture. It’s everything we learn about the world and how to behave in the communities in which we live. Folklife is all around us and we’re all part of it. It’s unofficial artistry that gets passed on through the generations, so certain traditions don’t get lost. Some call folklife “expressive culture.” Some examples include traditional song and dance performances, cooking, and storytelling.

  2. Why is folklife important?

    When people are more aware of folklife and folklore, both their own and others, it facilitates cross-cultural understanding. Also, most folk traditions are passed on orally or by presentation. If documentation of these traditions doesn’t occur, they may disappear. Parts of our culture will live on forever when we share them with others.

  3. How do I get involved?

    There are multiple ways to get involved. One way to make an impact is to make a tax deductible contribution to the NFN. Second, call or email us to hear about volunteer opportunities. Third, become an amateur folklorist! Think about some examples of folklife your family or community has. Another great way to learn more about folk traditions is by interviewing a tradition bearer. That is a person who is knowledgeable or expert in a particular tradition. Take some photos or video of these examples.

  4. Where do funds go if I donate?

    Tax deductible contributions to the NFN go toward many activities: identifying and supporting traditional artists; hosting public folklife events; the creation of museum-style cultural education trunks on groups represented in Nebraska; and reaching out to people across the state about Nebraska’s rich cultural heritage.


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