Sarah Albert at WebMD says that superstitions start when a ritual or belief is given magical significance. For instance, if a woman believes that a black cat crossing her path means she has to go back home and start over or suffer bad luck, she follows a superstition. Superstitions spread when they "work," and other people repeat them.
There is no credible scientific information to date that supports the existence of werewolves. Many scholars who study the history of werewolves disagree among themselves about what exactly a werewolf is, making it harder still to prove or disprove their existence.
The moral of the story "The Tortoise and the Hare" is that the weakest opponent should never be underestimated. In the story, the rabbit is beat by the turtle in a race because he took a nap and underestimated the turtle's ability to pass him up.
Researchers at the BBC insist that the red and white of Santa's suit has been around for quite some time. Some people have stated that Santa's original suit was a more subdued hue similar to tan.
Vampires are purported to live forever, barring any type of attempt to kill them. Legend has it that a vampire can only be killed if it's stabbed through the heart with a stake, shot through the heart with a silver bullet, burned, beheaded or exposed to sunlight, although vampires are also intolerant of garlic, holy water and crucifixes.
In the original text of "Jack and the Beanstalk," the name of the giant is not given. However, most plays that are based on the story have the giant named Blunderbore. The giant goes by similar names in other versions of the story, including Blunderboar, Thunderbore, Blunderbus and Blunderbuss.
Hansel and Gretel is the story of two German children who discover a house made of confections in the woods near their house. The candy house is inhabited by a witch who feeds the children sweets so she can cook and eat them. When Gretel is asked to light the fire in order to cook Hansel, she pushes the witch into the oven instead and slams the door.
Wishing someone good luck on their future endeavors is a friendly and polite gesture that can be done in a variety of ways, preferably by sending a handwritten note. The note may be accompanied by wishing the recipient well either in person or on the phone, depending on the relationship to him or her.
A legendary hero is a character immortalized in myths and folk tales, who is famous for acts of courage and bravery. Heracles, also known as Hercules, is an example of a legendary hero from Greek mythology, and Paul Bunyan is a legendary hero originating from American folk stories.
Santa's real name is Saint Nicholas. He was a monk who lived around 280 A.D. in the area now known as Turkey. He was admired for his kindness and became the subject of legends.
The legend of the gingerbread man exists in many forms, but it always consists of an animate, humanoid gingerbread cookie who is forced to flee from creatures who wish to eat him. The gingerbread man encounters many creatures but is ultimately tricked and eaten by a cunning fox.
Depending on the tradition one reads, besides Arthur there were between 12 knights and over 1,600. The most commonly accepted number, however, is the 25 knights shown on the Winchester Round Table.
The moral of "The Ugly Duckling" is that people should never give up on following their passions and finding their place in society. "The Ugly Duckling," a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen that was published in 1943, focuses on the story of a young "duckling" who doesn't appear to fit in with or look like the rest of the group.
The central conflict of "Rip Van Winkle" involves competing visions of American society following the Revolution. In the story, Washington Irving reveals an America falling short of its romanticized vision. He presents this symbolically through the journey of his title character, Rip.
The blue corn moon referred to in the song "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas" is a fictitious concept and does not refer to any particular moon phase. The concepts of blue moon and full corn moon do exist and refer to different types of full moons occurring at various times of the year.
Originally, elves were creatures of ancient Norse myth, and they looked like slender, small versions of fair-skinned blond Scandinavian people. As tales of elves spread throughout cultures and then literature, their appearances became increasingly varied.
There is a claim that eagles can renew their lives by biting off their feathers, talons and beaks and then regrowing them, but this is not true. The myth states that when eagles reach the age of 30, their physical condition critically deteriorates. By plucking out their bad feathers and beak, they are supposedly able to live another 40 years. This myth stems partially from a metaphor in the Bible.
There are many accounts of people being raised by wolves, as well as other animals. Cases exist of people being raised by monkeys, wild dogs and even wild cats. Some people have been protected by animals as if they were a part of their pack for days, weeks, even years.
According to MSN Entertainment, the poetic character Frosty the Snowman was brought to life by a magic silk hat. The hat belonged to a magician named Professor Hinkle, who was hired to perform magic tricks for bored students.
Pixies and fairies are both types of mythical creatures in human folklore and literature, but fairies derive from locations around the world, while pixies are considered beings native to Northern Europe, particularly England and the Scandinavian countries. Pixies and fairies appear in many books, works of art and even television shows and movies. Pixies and fairies are typically shown as minuscule creatures, but have different physical characteristics that set them apart.
The line "Wednesday's child is full of woe" is a part of a nursery rhyme known as "Monday's Child," sometimes attributed to Mother Goose; it predicts that children born on Wednesday are sad.