Published: 17-03-2010, 16:37

Nativity Legends

Nativity Legends: Legends Concerning Jesus’ Birth

Nativity Legends: Christmas Legends

Folklorists define a legend as a short, oral narrative about a person, place, or incident. Legends purport to be true, which generally means that they stay within the boundaries of what’s considered possible within the shared cultural assumptions of the tale tellers and their audience.

The English word “legend” comes from the Latin word legere, which means “to read.” The term originated in the early Middle Ages in reference to accounts of the lives of the saints read aloud at religious services held on their feast days. As the Middle Ages wore on, these saints’ tales became more and more numerous, and more and more fantastic. Gradually, the word legend came to mean an untrue or improbable story. Medieval people not only told legends about saints, but also about biblical events and characters. Indeed, scriptural texts gave so little information concerning important events like the Nativity that much room remained for ordinary people to embroider their fanciful designs around the bare outlines of the story.