The Everyday Lore Project
The Everyday Lore Project is my attempt to incorporate an element of folklore, superstition, tradition or calendar custom into my life, every day, for a year.
Starting on St Distaff’s Day (7 January) 2020 and running until Twelfth Night (6 January) 2021, I will be documenting my daily goings on on my blog, and at various points I’ll be writing the odd short story and poem as a response to what I’ve encountered.
Most of the year will be planned (it’s like a giant game of Tetris), but I’ve left room for spur-of-the-moment-ness, and for trying out other people’s personal traditions. Some of the stuff I’ll be doing will be old, some of it new, some of it borrowed, and some of it Blue Moon related, and on Halloween/Samhain no less!
And why am I doing this? I’ve always been fascinated by folklore and ritual. From devouring Lloyd Alexander, Eva Ibbotson, Alan Garner and CS Lewis as a child, to studying mythology and folk tales at university, to playing Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, my head has always been slightly more in an other place. Plus I’m nosy and want to know about things.
Also I was dared. Again. I share the idea for this project with the wondrous Jenifer Toksvig, playwright, theatre maker, social observer, activist and friend since drama school. Sitting at her kitchen table in the mid naughties, both of us fresh from reading The Stones Are Hatching by Geraldine McCaughrean, we tossed around the notion of living our lives by the rules of folklore. Then a decade and a bit later, sitting in front of a mummer’s play on the South Bank on Twelfth Night, we tossed around the idea some more.
So please accept this invitation to join me as I hang up hot cross buns, cut my toenails into three*, learn how to morris dance, plant potatoes on a full moon, wash my face in dew, knit haggises, brew braggot, make corn dollies, watch World Championships in marbles, Pooh sticks, pea throwing, and shin-kicking, go to the races, join in processions, get close to the fires, and try a bit of love divination (plus anything else you think I should be doing). The project is based on traditions of the British Isles, but who says rules can’t be broken…
By signing up to my blog you can follow my progress daily, weekly or however you want to, or you can catch yourself up on Twitter @lilithepunk and through the hashtags #EverydayLore and #FolkloreFOMO.
If you want to find out more about folklore, tradition and the sort of things that have inspired me, I’m compiling a Useful Onions page with information about the people who have gone before me, and those who are a big influence on what I’m doing now – you can add your own suggestions in the comments. And a general thank you page for everyone who has helped/is helping me through the year.
Welcome to The Everyday Lore Project.
Today I’ve had a very itchy right palm and the folklore advice is conflicting. Some say it’s a sign I’m about to lose money, while others tell of the reverse. Some say if my palm itches I should…
*Well, you wouldn’t want the devil to make a ship out of them, now would you…?