If I am to remember my high school English class teacher correctly there used to be one main difference between the two words.
The word Folklore was properly used as a reference to stories or myths that were told orally throughout different generations, being passed down as word of mouth.
The word Legends referred to the written stories also handed down throughout time and through the different generations.
What is interesting is how over time it has became common to use these two different words interchangeably. We now see both of these words as meaning a story or tale that has not yet been proven to exist, usually but not always dating back many years.
Think of the word folklore. What comes to mind? I'm willing to guess it was something along the lines of leprechauns or fairies. Now think of the word legend. Again what came to mind? I would say most people would think of urban myths.
So is there a difference between them?
Not really, at least not in the way most people of today think about it, both are used as stated above to mean a story or tale that has not been proven to be real or false. Folklore and legends come to us from all over the globe. You would be hard pressed to find a culture that did not have these tales as part of their background or even today as part of their daily lives. One of the more common known is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How many times as a child did you think about that story and wonder if it was true? Or even try to find the end of the rainbow? I know I did as I was growing up and now my own children do.
I think it is important to keep these old folktales and legends alive in today's world. As the generations pass we hear less of these old stories being told and as a result many people either do not know or the children of the next generations will not know these stories and the wonderful history behind them. So I welcome you to this new section and hope you will find within it some of the great legends that came before us and hopefully will live on long after we are gone.
Written By : Jennifer Tyrrell