Farmers Folklore S19


Our group will collect and examine folklore rituals related to farming. We selected this folklore because each group member had family ties to farming. Tyler’s family owns a cattle ranch in South Dakota, Jack’s father grew up on a dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania, Aaron’s grandparents worked on a barrio in Texas, and Richard’s father’s family worked on farms in rural China. We found that there is a lack of students at Dartmouth with a rural upbringing, although some have experienced farming once arriving on campus. Farming also provides a rich tradition of oral and material folklore, because it has existed in the same fashion for a long period of time. We also compare farming folklore from different parts of the United States as well as other countries, and find that many of the folklore items contain similar themes regardless of their place of their origin.

Across cultures, we find the same themes of perseverance and steadfastness in farming folklore, as well as a sense of community. Due to the volatile nature of farming, often dependent on factors outside of the farmer’s control, remaining a steadfast worker is a valuable skill, and this is reflected in farming folklore. We also see a connection with nature through superstitions that rely on animals for problems that humans cannot solve, likely a result of working so closely with animals.




  • Tyler Bowen
  • Jack Kurtz
  • Aaron Flores
  • Richard Yang