Category Archives: Folklore

December 23

Wagnerian Influences in Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’

On the 23rd of December 1893, Hansel and Gretel, an opera by Engelbert Humperdinck, premiered in Weimar, under the baton of Richard Strauss. Humperdinck composed nine works  in total for the stage. But Hansel and Gretel brought him the biggest critical acclaim. The libretto, written by Humperdinck’s sister, Adelheid Wette, was loosely based on the Brothers Grimm […]

November 12

The Loch Ness Monster in Cryptozoology and Folklore

On the 12th of November 1933, a local Scottish man called Hugh Gray took the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster, a cryptic (an allegedly large unidentified animal) that is meant to live in a lake in the Scottish Highlands. He recalled the incident as follows: “Four Sundays ago after church I went for […]

October 12

History in Nursery Rhymes: Three Blind Mice

On the 12th of October 1609, the popular children’s nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice was published in London. A version of this rhyme, together with music, was published in Deuteromelia (1609); the editor was Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1582-1635), still a teenager at the time of its publication. London life in the 1600s was hard for everyone. The capital […]

July 06

Marc Bloch on Thaumaturgy

On the 6th of July 1886, French Jewish historian Marc L. B. Bloch was born in Lyon, France. Known as the cofounder of the Annales School of French social history, Bloch is considered a quintessential modernist. Born into an academic Alsacian family, he studied in Berlin and Leipzig, fought in the trenches of the Western […]

June 16

Marie Laveau: Voodoo, Race and Female Power

On the 16th of June 1881, Marie Laveau, Louisiana Creole ‘princess’ of Voodoo, died in New Orleans, Louisiana, aged 79. “A nineteenth-century free woman of color, she is a founding figure of the African-American voodoo tradition. Little is known about Marie Laveau and her introduction to voodoo. Originally a devout Catholic, she “miraculously” transformed herself […]

June 01

Paco Peña: Flamenco and the Question of National Identity in Spain

On the 1st of June 1942, the Spanish Flamenco composer and guitarist Paco Peña was born in Córdoba, Spain. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional Flamenco players, Peña began his professional career very early in life. He learnt playing the guitar at the age of six, and by twelve he made his first professional appearances. […]