National Paul Bunyan Day

Sometimes it can seem that many of the most beloved folklore characters are evil predators who live their lives looking for their next victim. Paul Bunyan is the American lumberjack. He is tall, strong, capable and kind.

Paul Bunyan’s character was born in the oral tradition of North American lumberjacks that dates back to the mid-1800s. Paul Bunyan stories were told in lumbercamp bunkhouses for at least 30 years. Some of them featured motifs from older folktales like fearsome creatures and absurdly severe weather. Although the exact etymology is not known, many believe it may have been related the Quebecois expression “bon-yenne!” which expresses surprise and astonishment.

William B. Laughead (1882-1958), a freelance writer and adman, popularized Paul Bunyan in 1916 promotional pamphlets for Red River Lumber Company. He was looking for a face to represent the campaign. Laughead embellished a lot on the character’s past exploits and added his own, including Paul Bunyan‚Äôs blue ox, “Babe”. T

He also increased Paul Bunyan‚Äôs body to unimaginable levels. The character was a huge success and Paul Bunyan became a national celebrity thanks to the Red River advertisement campaign. Over the next decades, the character’s image and name were used to promote various cities and services. In fact, several large statues of Paul Bunyan have been erected in many cities.

National Paul Bunyan Day was established to honor this important bit of folklore, and all that it did for local tourism and business in many communities in the northern US.

It’s possible that you have forgotten how entertaining folklore can make you feel, even if you are an adult. Horror movies are a popular genre, and many have been made from urban legends and folklore. F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922 silent German movie) is a classic in folk horror. It was one of the first horror films ever made. The haunting portrayal of the title monster and its German Expressionist style will stay with you long after the film has been viewed.

Nosferatu can be recognized even by people who haven‚Äôt seen it, demonstrating the impact that the film had on popular culture over the past 100 years. The Wicker Man, a British film classic, is well worth watching. Its chilling portrayal of cult mentality is also worth seeing. Just make sure to watch the original and not the 2006 Nicholas Cage remake. Both audiences and critics have mocked the film since its release. Based on Washington Irving’s American classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Tim Burton’s Oscar-winning Sleepy Hollow is a story about the Headless Horseman. This character, which is one of America’s most famous folk characters, could be another good choice. Paul Bunyan doesn’t have a movie other than a 1958 animated musical.

National Paul Bunyan Day can also be a great day to learn more about local folklore. No matter where you are in the world there are many interesting legends about this area. Take advantage of this holiday to find more. Don’t believe everything that you read.


Jun 01 - 28 2024


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