Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn March 20, 1991, the nation of Sweden celebrated “All Storytellers Day.” Today, the day has been adopted around the globe as World Storytelling Day. From South Africa to Singapore, Canada to Croatia, thousands of people celebrate the art of oral storytelling. Each year has a different theme—in 2015, it was “Wishes.” In 2016, it was "Strong Women." In 2017, it's "Transformation."Storytellers have an important place in many cultures. In many West African regions, a griot is a storyteller who is also a community historian and politician. The griot tradition continues to thrive in places throughout Mali, Senegal, and Gambia. Troubadours were traveling storytellers who served courts in medieval Europe. Troubadours not only told stories and histories, but relayed information about neighboring communities, medical practices, and political debate. Storytelling saves the life of Scheherazade, the hero-queen of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Arabian, Persian, and Indian folktales sometimes called “1,001 Arabian Nights.”Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, vital to preserving the culture and traditions of communities as diverse as Aboriginal Australians and ancient Greeks. Storytelling often includes music, dance, and chanting. Storytellers often re-tell familiar stories, but adapt them for a specific audience—making them funnier or shorter for a younger audience, or more complex for older listeners. It is a way to convey history, culture, language, spirituality, and identity.Vyasa, the storyteller of the Indian epic poem Mahabharata, says “If you listen [to a story] carefully, at the end you’ll be someone else.”
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Aboriginal Australian Noun
people and culture native to Australia and its surrounding islands. Also called Aborigine.
to adjust to new surroundings or a new situation.
to take over or nurture an idea or responsibility as if it were one's own.
to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.
chant noun, verb
short, simple melody that is repeated as it is sung.
sharing of information and ideas.
group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.
to communicate or make known.
learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.
to argue or disagree in a formal setting.
varied or having many different types.
legend or story passed down among people of a specific culture or region.
storyteller and oral historian common to cultures of West Africa.
person who studies events and ideas of the past.
how a person defines themselves, or how others define them.
having to do with the study of medicine or healing.
having to do with the Middle Ages (500-1400) in Europe.
political unit made of people who share a common territory.
Encyclopedic Entry: nation oral Adjective
having to do with the mouth or spoken words.
person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.
to transmit or spread information.
person who is owned by another person or group of people.
exact or precise.
belief in supernatural powers.
to develop and be successful.
beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.
traveling poet or storyteller popular in southern Europe in the Middle Ages.
necessary or very important.