National Tell A Fairy Tale Day
If you love a good fantasy, and want a day where you revel in “happily ever after” this unofficial holiday is exactly what you’re looking for. On this day, we celebrate stories, where “a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins) —called also fairy story.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Indeed, fairy tales have been a fixture of world-wide cultures for centuries, often rooted in some truths, with magic and supernatural forces thrown in, where a basic lesson or moral is ultimately communicated to a child. Many oral histories, legends, myths and rumors get weaved into story telling, and fairy tales exemplify this craft.
So, today it’s time to put away the screens, light a fire in the hearth, gather your family, and read aloud classics or make up your own.
Who knows how these unofficial holidays get started… the point is that the ancient practice of fairy tales stays alive and well in our experience as a people. The fairy tales we think of as popular are actually rooted in very inappropriate, horrible stories where toes are cut off to fit a maiden’s foot into a slipper, a wooden boy kills his pet cricket or children are used as slave labor in a mine. Many of the fairy tales that Disney now “owns” in our society came from the anthology of stories created by the Brothers Grimm, first published in 1812. The first edition had 86 stories collected stories, and represents a great example of two men trying to save culture through traditions. Long before the Grimm Brothers were born, women would tell stories and folklore to pass the time with their kids as they worked in farms and rural settings. By the late 1700’s into the 1800’s, industrialization was taking hold in Germany, and the craft of oral story telling was getting lost, along with great stories like Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. So, the brothers, who were scholars, decided to collect and preserve what are now called fairy tales in 7 editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Initially, the Grimms did not publish the book for kids despite the original name “Nursery and Household Tales.” The original classics were toned down and made child-appropriate over the editions and decades. For example, the terrible stepmother in Snow White was actually a terrible mother in the first version. Rapunzel was knocked up in a casual romp with a prince. In Cinderella, the stepsisters cut off their toes and heels to fit into the Prince’s glass slipper. You get the idea!
- Fairy tale books, or for a more authentic experience, the first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
- A fire; or determine a cozy spot to enjoy reading.
- Snacks are always a way to enhance the experience.
StepsHere are some ways to enjoy this special day:
- Taking a trip to your local library is a great way to find stories. It’s always fun to read aloud in the library, so perhaps you can just select a few stories to read with your kids, and then talk about how these classic fairy tales have been changed into popular movies and stories that are told today.
- If you have your own fairy tale books, light a fire or get cozy in bed with the family or your pet cat.
- If you’re more crafty, you can make up your own fairy tale or illustrate a favorite story.
- If your kids are budding thespians, they could act out their own version of a favorite fairy tale, complete with costumes.
- And, if you just want to immerse yourself in the world of fantasy and fairy tales, head to Disneyland or Disney World (depending on which coast you are closer to), put on your mouse ears, and have at it!