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World Storytelling Day encourages old-fashioned yarn-spinning



John Burger - published on 03/20/18

First day of spring and the week following are a good time to keep the "oral tradition" alive.

When’s the last time you heard someone tell a good story?

Sure, we all love a good movie or television show. And many people still read books. But is oral storytelling a lost art?

There was a time when that’s pretty much all there was. The Bible and other classic works of literature that have come down to us in printed form all came out of the “oral tradition.” In time, printing and successive new technologies tended to make the oral tradition more of a specialty.

If you’re interested in an effort to keep the oral tradition alive, this is the week for you. Today is World Storytelling Day, a project that started in 2004 to promote oral storytelling by inspiring people all over the world to organize events in the week after the March Equinox (which is March 20 this year). The goal is to have as many people tell and listen to stories at as many places and in as many languages as possible.

Organizers are encouraging people to hold their own storytelling events, which could be as small as a cozy gathering in your kitchen with friends and relatives to a big storytelling festival. The important thing is to make sure the event focuses on oral storytelling.

But organizers are also hopeful that events can be transmitted by phone, Skype or other modern means, possibly leading to connections with others storytellers around the globe.

“You could imagine it as a gathering around a global campfire, with tellers and listeners coming and going while the sun travels around the earth seven times,” says the World Storytelling Day website.

Each year, organizers suggest a theme for World Storytelling Day. This year, it’s “Wise Fools.”

What kind of stories might you tell to fit the category? We’ll leave that up to your imagination.

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