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Tell a Fairy Tale Day

"Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," and "Jack and the Beanstalk" are three stories that were likely told to you or read to you while you were growing up. They are all fairy tales, a genre of literature and form of a folk tale with fantastical and magical events and characters. Common characters include elves, witches, fairies, trolls, dragons, dwarfs, giants, goblins, gnomes, talking animals, mermaids, unicorns, and princes and princesses. Fairy tales are usually rather short, and they often begin with the phrase "once upon a time," clueing in readers that their settings are places that can no longer be found. These stories abound on Tell a Fairy Tale Day, which is dedicated to reading, telling, and listening to fairy tales.

Some stories considered to be fairy tales may date back as far as 6,500 years, to the Bronze Age. These early stories were handed from generation to generation by being told orally or being acted out. Originally, fairy tales were more adult-oriented but began being geared more towards children in the seventeenth century, and today are often considered a genre of children's literature. The term "fairy tales" did not come about until the late seventeenth century, when Madame D'Aulnoy used the term for her work.

Most stories came from the European tradition, but there was a great cross-pollination of stories from cultures around the world. Fairy tales have been both passed down orally and written down. Some of the first writers or compilers of fairy tales include Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, who put out works during the Renaissance. They were followed by collectors of fairy tales such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, the latter of whom collected German fairy tales, publishing them in the early nineteenth century. New fairy tales and works derived from fairy tales continue to be written today. No matter if they are old or new, fairy tales are read, told, and listened to on Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

How to Observe Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Celebrate the day by telling, reading, and listening to fairy tales! You could tell or read both well-known and rare ones and even make up your own. As fairy tales are usually tailored more towards children, perhaps you could read some of your favorites to a child. There are countless versions of many fairy tales, and they have changed through various oral tellings and written accounts. You could tell or read modern versions, but you could also use the books of early fairy tale collectors. For example, you could read fairy tales out of Grimm's Household Fairy Tales.

Another way to celebrate the day could be to host a fairy tale party. Guests could come dressed up as a character from their favorite fairy tale, and foods featured in fairy tales—such as porridge, which is in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"—could be eaten. If children are involved (or even if they aren't), a fairy tale movie could be watched. Watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length Walt Disney film, which is an adaptation of the fairy tale "Snow White," is one idea. Some other fairy tales that have been adapted to film include Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. You could also bring your group to visit a museum that is dedicated to fairy tales or has exhibits centered around fairy tales. Diehard fairy tale fans could travel to the Fairy Tale Museum in Cyprus.

There are hundreds of fairy tales. The following are some of the most popular:

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