Tuesday 19 March 2013

World Storytelling Day in St. John's, Newfoundland #WSD2013

World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling. It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern. On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night. Participants tell each other about their events in order to share stories and inspiration, to learn from each other and create international contacts.

World Storytelling Day has its roots in a national day for storytelling in Sweden, circa 1991-2. It first came to Newfoundland with an event in 2007 at The Rooms, featuring yours truly and Elinor Benjamin, and sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the St. John's Storytelling Circle. You can listen to an audio recording of that event online at archive.org.

For the past several years, I've been the volunteer webmaster for the World Storytelling Day website. It's been great fun, as I get emails from all over the world from people looking to celebrate the tradition and art of storytelling in their own communities. This year, I was interviewed by Alba Conesa of the Spanish organization "Contes pel món" about World Storytelling Day and the growing interest in oral storytelling globally. You can read it here in English, or here in Spanish.

Each year, many of the individual storytelling events that take place around the globe are linked by a common theme. Each year, the theme is identified by and agreed upon by storytellers from around the world on the worldstorytellingday listserv. This year the theme is "Fortune and Fate" and we are fortunate enough to be back at The Rooms again this year to share stories.

You can join us Wednesday, March 20 7:00 pm at The Rooms Theatre, where I've shamelessly twisted the arm of fellow folklorist Dr. Mariya Lesiv to curate an evening of stories exploring the fortunes, fates and experiences of new Canadians as they make the shift from their old homes in Eastern Europe to life in Newfoundland and Labrador.  The evening is presented in collaboration with Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is funded in part by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It is the first event of the Foundation's "Newfiki: A celebration of East-European cultures in Newfoundland," running March 20-23.

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