Context: The informant JE is a recent graduate of a college in the city of Tampa, Florida. Not being from there, the informant made it very clear that they tried extra hard to make sure they followed and learned all the traditions of the area. JE stated that they felt in doing this they would have both a better experience living there and also meet lots of new people.
Tradition: Every year in Tampa there is a festival, Gasparilla, which the informant stated was basically just a big pirate festival across the city, celebrating the history of Tampa. The informant said it was a huge deal in the area, and they partook in the event every single year that they lived in the city.
Analysis: The informant constantly emphasized how important the event was to the city, and subsequently all of their college friends. While in the end it seems a bit like a giant excuse to party, the fact the city keeps the tradition as an extremely big deal is tremendous to see. The city because of festival and its “pirate” history has really leaned into this cultural aspect, even naming one of their professional sports teams after pirates. City identities such as this create an extremely fun and connected culture for the residents, and more cities should lean more into their history to have a unique culture.
Context: The informant, WH, grew up in Texas and is very interested in nature, even going as far as to study it in college. The informant also is very into storytelling in general and so this legend particularly piqued his interest growing up. The informant also said that they did not know they extent of the legendary animal, however it definitely was famous in their circles.
Myth: The mythical animal the informant raved over was that of a jackalope. According to the informant the jackalope is an animal mix of a jackrabbit and an antelope. While the informant was not aware of the exact origins, they knew its significant prevalence in hunting culture, especially in their home state.
Analysis: It was interesting to hear how this mythical creature was significantly part of the informant’s culture. The informant was even utterly shocked that I had not heard of the jackalope before. Personally, I think the discrepancy amongst folk groups, such as in this case that of a mythical animal, is so fascinating. From group to group, individuals feel like knowledge of folk within their group is ubiquitous, yet in reality its not. Further research into the creature shows many different stories, however the informant could go into very little storytelling just its existence. Nonetheless, just the knowledge and learning of the jackalope is a cool window into different folk groups.