Types of Folklore: Definition, Characteristics, Functions, and Examples

Kinds of Folklore – Most of us must have heard typical stories from parents, be it fathers, mothers, even grandparents. The stories that developed in ancient times can be said to be folklore. This is because folklore is a story from the past that has been passed down from generation to generation to the next generation.

This article will explain about the kinds of folklore that has been living in society. There are many forms of folklore itself, starting from the story of an area, a character, to stories about animals in ancient times. However, before heading to the explanation section about the various types of folklore, you can first understand what exactly is folklore? and How can a story be said to be folklore?

A. Definition of Folklore

Folklore can be understood as a story or story originating from ancient society and developed widely by word of mouth until finally it became widely known. Folklore itself is a cultural heritage that needs to be preserved for the next generation. However, because folklore is passed on orally, it is very difficult to know who the author is. In addition, folklore is also a fictitious type of story, so it cannot be proven true.

Of the many existing folk tales, some of them carry local elements of an area so they are highly trusted by the community. Not infrequently, the existing folklore tells a place to the origin of the characters. Apart from that, folklore also has some evidence that can be witnessed until now, thus further strengthening people’s belief in the story. However, some folklore also provides evidence that does not fit scientific explanations.

Even so, folklore is a legacy from ancient people. This is an added value to the cultural and historical richness of a society. Folklore or commonly known as folklore contains several special characteristics. These characteristics are used to distinguish between folklore and other stories, namely having a traditional character and being conveyed orally.

Preserving folklore can be one way to educate the public about local wisdom. In addition, folklore can also be entertainment, social and culture of a society. The advantage of folklore itself is that it is able to awaken the imagination and provide knowledge as well as instill moral values. The purpose of this folklore is of course as an insight to the community to live.

Indonesia’s cultural wealth makes folklore spread very quickly in various circles of society. Many regions in Indonesia have their own folklore. So, here are examples of folklore or folklore that are widely known to the public, including Malin Kundang from West Sumatra, the Legend of Lake Toba from North Sumatra, Lutung Kasarung from West Java, Princess Mandalika from Lombok, the Legend of Rawa Pening from Central Java, and some typical stories from another area.

B. Characteristics of Folklore

After knowing and understanding about folklore, the following are the characteristics of folklore that you can use to distinguish folklore from today’s stories, including:

1. Folklore told orally.
2. Stories are passed down from generation to generation.
3. The author of the story is unknown.
4. Stories contain noble social values.
5. Stories have a traditional character.
6. Stories have many versions and variations.
7. The story has a cliche form in the structure or way of telling.

C. Folklore Functions

After you know about the meaning and characteristics of folklore, here are the functions of folklore. Basically, the function of folklore itself is to pass on noble values ​​to society. The following are functions of folklore that can be used for several fields, including:

1. The function of educational facilities

The function of folklore for education is to provide messages or messages to readers or listeners. Folklore contains a lot of moral values ​​in the stories that are presented, this will be very good for providing character learning to the community, for example children or teenagers.

2. Functions of Entertainment Facilities

Folklore also has a function as a means of entertainment for the community. Many folk stories such as fairy tales, myths and legends contain interesting and humorous stories, so they are very suitable as a means of entertaining the public. In addition, folklore that has entertainment value still departs from the daily experiences of ancient people, so it is very relevant to the life experiences of today’s society.

3. Social and Cultural Functions

Folklore itself has a function to strengthen a society through social and cultural values. Some folklore holds many teachings about ethics and morals that can be used as guidelines for society. In addition, folklore also deviates a lot from the prohibitions and taboos that should be avoided so that disaster does not occur. In some areas, folklore is used by the community to support behavior in social interaction.

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D. Types of Folklore

Before going on to the various types of folklore in general, here are three major categories of stories based on William R Bascom’s research, some of which are:

1. Myth (mites)

Myths or myths can be understood as a folk prose story which is believed to be true after the masters of the community acknowledge its sanctity. Myth or myth itself is a story in which the main character is a god or a demigod. This myth itself is told in another world and happened in the past or it can be said not in our world today.

2. Legend

Legend is a folk prose story that has almost the same characteristics as a myth. Legend itself can be interpreted as a story that is considered to have really happened, however, legend is not considered sacred. Characters in legends are human beings, but they are often endowed with extraordinary powers and are often assisted by magical creatures. For the place where the legend took place is the world we know today and it didn’t take place in a very long time, so there is particular evidence.

3. Fairy tales

Fairy tales themselves have a definition as folklore in the form of prose which is truly considered by the poets or narrators. Stories that occur in fairy tales have no connection with time or place with our world today.

E. Kinds of Folklore

Folklore is divided into several types, namely:

1. Epics

Epics can be interpreted as one of the folk tales that tell stories of heroism. Examples of epic folklore itself are like, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and so on.

2. Humorous Stories

Witty stories have the intention of being a folk tale that tells about stupidity and has an element of humor, so that the reader laughs and is happy. Examples of folk tales that have elements of humor are such as Mr. Pandir, Si Kabayan, Lebai Malang, Mr. Frog, Mr. Grasshopper, and so on.

3. Parallel

Parallel is one of the folklore stories in which there are figures in the form of humans and also characters in the form of animals. Examples of parallel folklore are the Ant and the Grasshopper, the Loba Dog, and so on.

4. Parabel

Apart from parallels, there are also other kinds of folklore, namely parables. Parabel itself is one of the folklore that presents stories that contain the moral message of an inanimate object. Inanimate objects in parables have a role as the main character. An example of parable folklore is the Story of a Pair of Slops.

5. Fables

The next kinds of folk tales are fables. Fables can be understood as a folk tale about an animal that acts as the main character. The stories presented by fables are basically similar to human stories, except that all fables are played by animals. Examples of fable folklore are the Story of the Clever Mouse Deer, the Mouse Deer and the Crocodile, the Tale of Kalila, and so on.

6. Legend

Further folklore is legend. Legend itself has a meaning as a folklore that tells the history of the formation of a place or region. You will often find legends around you, this is because many places in Indonesia have stories about the origins of their birth. For example, like the stories of Malin Kundang, Tangkuban Perahu, Banyuwangi Tales, Gunung Batok Tales, Rawa Pening Tales, and so on.

7. Mites

The next folklore is myth. Mite itself can be defined as stories of gods or stories that contain sacred values ​​and use a lot of mystical values. Examples of mythical folklore are the stories of Dewi Sri and Nyi Roro Kidul, Jaka Tarub, and so on.

8. Sage

The last variety of folklore is sage. Sage can be interpreted as one of the folklore that has stories or stories that contain historical value. Examples of sage folklore are Ciung Wanara, Roro Jonggrang, Hikayat Hang Tuah, and so on.

F. Examples of Folklore

The following are examples of folklore that you need to know, including:

1. Examples of Folklore 1

Lutung Kasarung

In ancient times, there lived two princesses who lived in the Kingdom of Pasundan. They were both named Purbararang and Purbasari. Both have very beautiful faces and have very white skin tones.

After the king or their father died, Purbasari was ordered to replace his father on the throne. Hearing this, Purbararang felt very jealous and wanted to harm Purbasari.

Then, he decided to meet a witch so she could curse her sister, Purbasari. Because of that, Princess Purbasari’s face and body turned into black spots.

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This was then used as one of the reasons by Princess Purbararang to expel him to a forest so that his throne could successfully move into the hands of Princess Purbararang.

While Putri Purbasari lived in the forest, she befriended a monkey that had black fur. The monkey was named Lutung Kasarung by Putri Purbasari. The monkey was very caring and also loved Putri Purbasari.

To help heal Purbasari’s facial and body skin, the monkey meditated in a quiet place when the full moon arrived. Not long after, formed a small lake whose water is very clear.

Lutung rushed to meet Purbasari and asked him to bathe in the lake. Remarkably, the water of the lake in an instant was able to restore Purbasari’s beauty.

Purbasari’s face and body skin were finally able to return to normal, namely white and also beautiful. Hearing that her sister had returned to her beauty, Purbararang felt worried.

He was very worried that his sister would take back what should be his. Then, he decided to meet his younger brother and invite him to compete with the good looks of their respective fiancees to fight over the king’s seat.

Now it was Purbasari’s turn to show Lutung Kasarung as his fiancé. Then, his brother laughed at him and felt that his fiancé was more handsome than a monkey.

At that moment, Lutung Kasarung immediately changed to his original form which was very handsome and dashing, it turned out that he was a prince. Purbararang finally admitted defeat and handed over the throne to his younger brother.

2. Examples of Folklore 2

Lake Toba

Once upon a time, there was a farmer who was very diligent and tenacious at work. He lives alone without a family to accompany him. His daily work is working the fields and fishing to help make ends meet.

One day, the farmer was fishing in the river. Armed with fishing equipment, bait and a fish rack, he started walking towards the river. When he got there he immediately threw the hook that had been baited. Then he prayed to God so he could get a lot of fish.

He is very happy when the fish he gets is big. However, the farmer was surprised that the fish could talk and asked the farmer not to eat the fish. Immediately the farmer released the fish. How shocked the farmer was when the fish had turned into a beautiful woman.

The fish turned out to be a princess who was cursed to become a fish. She thanks him for freeing her from the curse. In return, she wants to be the farmer’s wife.

One of the conditions that must be met is not being able to tell and mention the origins of the daughter of a fish. If violated, there will be a very terrible catastrophe. Petai agreed.

After marriage, they had a son. They live happily with their handsome son. However, his son has a trait that makes others wonder, namely he never feels full so he often finishes food.

One day the mother asked her child to deliver food to her father who was working in the fields. However, unfortunately the child ate the food himself and slept in the hut.

His father waited for the food to come, could not stand thirst and hunger, so the farmer came home. On the way he found his son who was sleeping.

At that time the farmer was angry with his son because he had eaten the food he was allotted. And unintentionally the farmer broke his promise. He said ‘you fish child’, at that moment his wife and children disappeared. After that, water emerged from the footprints to form a lake which is now known as Lake Toba.

3. Examples of Folklore 3

Angel Lake

In a lake there is a resident, a handsome man named Awang Sukma. He lives alone and is good at playing the flute.

He also likes to find birds. However, this time the atmosphere was so quiet that not a single bird landed so he didn’t harvest the birds. He was very surprised.

One day while he was sleeping, he heard the sound of people talking. It turns out that there are seven angels who are playing in the water in the lake. He wanted to see it up close. Finally Awang headed to the lake.

He hid and tried to take one of the clothes from the princess. When they were going home, the princess was nervous about not finding her clothes and flying equipment, so she accepted Awang’s offer to stay at her house and eventually got married.

They were then blessed with a child named Kumalasari. One day the princess found out that it was her husband who had hidden her clothes. He then returned to heaven following his brothers.

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