NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY
On February 26th, have a happily ever after kind of day. It is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!
What were once oral histories, myths, and legends retold around the fire or by traveling storytellers, have been written down and become known the world over as fairy tales.
Origins of Fairy Tales
The origins of most fairy tales would fail today’s standards of the Association of Fairy Tales. They told unseemlily tales and would be rated as inappropriate for children. Most traveling storytellers told fairy tales with dramatic detail to make children behave, teach a lesson or pass the time much like ghost stories around a campfire today.
Many of the stories have some basis in truth. For example, some believe Margarete von Waldeck, the daughter of the 16th century Count of Waldeck, inspired the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The area of Germany where the family lived was known for mining. Some of the tunnels were so tight they had to use children – or small people such as dwarfs – to work the mines.
Margarete’s beauty is well documented, and her stepmother sent her away. Margarete also fell in love with a prince but mysteriously died before she could have her happily ever after.
As the stories evolved, they took on a more magical quality with fictional characters such as fairies, giants, mermaids and gnomes, and sometimes gruesome story plots.
Toes cut off to fit into a slipper, a wooden boy killing his cricket, or instead of kissing that frog prince his head must be cut off, but those are the unrated versions.
Brothers Grimm, Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen
The brothers Grimm collected and published some of the more well-known tales we are familiar with today. Jakob and his brother Wilhelm set out on a quest to preserve these tales at a time in history when a tradition of oral storytelling was fading. In 1812, they published their first volume of stories titled Household Tales. Their stories’ darker qualities were clearly meant for an adult audience.
Rumpelstiltskin is one of the tales they collected. Several other versions exist and the little man claimed many different names across Europe. From Trit-a-trot in Ireland to Whuppity Stoorie in Scotland, Rumplestiltskin makes it difficult for historians to identify him.
While some storytellers have a long and sometimes ancient history such as Aesop (The Fox and the Goose, The Ant and the Grasshopper), others are more recent like the Grimm brothers.
Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1829, brought to us written versions of the Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and many more. Where Grimm’s tales could take on a darker cast and unmistakably written with adults in mind, Andersen’s stories are sweet and warm.
HOW TO OBSERVE #TellAFairyTaleDay
National Tell A Fairy Tale Day encourages you to tell a fairy tale or two. If you think you don’t have a fair tale to tell, you might be wrong. We’ve told a few in our day, so we have a few tips to share with you.
- Engage your audience. Children like to participate. Have them quack every time you mention the Ugly Duckling or make the motions of climbing Jack’s beanstalk.
- Use repetition. Repeated stanzas, syllables, or movements will keep the kids engaged. It not only helps them to remember the story but sets them up for the next round of the repeated phrase or stanza.
- Give your characters a voice. Nobody likes a monotone storyteller. Buehler, Buehler, Buehler. No, not even children like the monotone. Varying your voice for each character and inflecting excitement, sadness and disappointment will create drama and stimulate the imaginations of the little minds listening to you.
- Ask questions as you go. It’s an excellent way to keep your story flowing and to gauge the children’s listening skills.
- Find out if someone has a story of their own. You might be in the presence of a great storyteller!
Share your favorite fairy tale with friends and family. Try relating them from memory as this has long been a tradition. Visit a library or local bookstore for storytime. Use #TellAFairyTaleDay to post on social media.
You can also learn more about your favorite fairy tales in 5 World-Favorite Fairy Tales and the Stories Behind them.
NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY HISTORY
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator or the origin of National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.
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February 26th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
National Public Radio files articles of incorporation with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. The organization’s membership is comprised of independent, private, public U.S. radio stations.
The U.S. Patent Office issued patent no. 534,840 to Michael Joseph Owens for a glass-blowing machine. Later that same year, Owens would co-found the Owens Bottle Machine Company in Toledo, Ohio. He also filed several other patents for bottle making.
The Palace Theatre in London introduced the public to Kinemacolor with a showing of 21 short films. George Albert Smith created the process for adding color filters to film.
Congress established the title of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on December 20, 1985. On February 26, 1986, Robert Pen Warren was named the nation’s first Poet Laureate.
February 26th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Victor Hugo – 1802
As imaginative and romantic as Victor Hugo was, he probably never conjured up any of the cinematic productions of his novels and plays. What might the French author of sweeping epics like Les Misérable and gothic works like The Hunchback of Notre Dame have thought of the modern interpretations?
Levi Strauss – 1829
Today, they are probably more fashion statements than workwear. They come in more styles and colors than Starbucks can come up with for coffee choices. In 1873, tailor Jacob Davis approached Levi Strauss with a proposal after creating a pair of reinforced waist-length overalls from the fabric Strauss had sold him. Less than a century later, they became the stylish wardrobe necessity every teenager required. Fashion designers elevated the humble blue jean to haute couture while the rest of us wrote love letters to our favorite old pair of jeans that fit perfectly.
Antoine “Fats” Domino – 1928
Anyone who loves Rock ‘n’ Roll needs to thank the man who bellied up to the piano and called himself “The Fat Man” in 1949. He’s also known for the songs “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blue Berry Hill.” Fats Domino’s unique rhythm and enthusiastic personality drove an entirely new genre of music.
Johnny Cash – 1932
If an artist ever sang about who he was, Johnny Cash did. He sang about sinners and redemption, soldiers and drifters, and country boys. If Cash didn’t speak to you through his music, you’ve not found the right song yet.
Karen Berger – 1958
The award-winning comic book editor helped create DC Comic’s Vertigo imprint in 1993.
Susan Helms -1958
In 2001, the first military woman in space performed the longest spacewalk with astronaut James Voss. She began her distinguished career in the Air Force and became an astronaut in 1991.
Ja Rule – 1976
Born Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, the American rapper and songwriter rose to popularity during the 2000s with hits like “Between Me and You” and “It Ain’t Funny.” He’s earned several Grammy nods including one with his wife Ashanti for “Always on Time.”
Buffalo Bill Cody – 1846
John Harvey Kellogg – 1852
Herbert Henry Dow – 1866
Rudolph Dirks – 1877
Michael Bolton – 1954