An absorbing and entertaining guide to English folklore and an authoritative reference source on such legendary characters as Cinderella, Jack the Giant Killer, and Robin Hood. The dictionary gives entertaining and informative explanations of a wide range of subjects in folklore and includes articles on oral and performance genres such as cheese rolling, morris dancing, and rushbearing, superstitions such as crossing fingers and wishbones, beliefs like fairy rings and frog showers, and calendar customs from April Fool's Day to St. Valentine's Day.
This is a fascinating dictionary covering the wide range of folk beliefs that have survived into our own age. Each superstition is illustrated by quotations tracing its development through the centuries. Entries tell of the traditional significance of animals, colours, days, and the elements; rituals to be observed at certain seasons or when faced with natural and unnatural occurrences; cures, taboos, and the uses to which people have put everyday objects in pursuit of good fortune or knowledge of the future.
Since Plato first coined the term 'mythologia', mythology has come to hold greater significance and power as a crucial element of civilization as a whole. Written by a leading scholar of ancient civilizations, A Dictionary of World Mythology presents the powerful gods of Greece, Rome, and Scandinavia, the more mystical deities of Buddhist and Hindu India, and the stern spirits of the African and American continents. Drawing upon hundreds of myths from around the globe, it not only reveals the vast differences in these civilizations, but also demonstrates the unity of mankind in its fundamental need for explanations of the unknown.