at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Festivals and Folktales of Southeast Asia


Celebrating the Source: Water Festivities in Southeast Asia
Lindy Poh

CelebratingTheSourceCelebrating the Source is an online publication that features the iconic and beloved water festivities of the ASEAN Member States as well as introduces lesser-known rituals and celebrations that have shaped the cultural and social life of the region. These chapters trace a broad outline of these ASEAN water festivities from the contributions of writers, observers and photographers across the region.

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The Adventures of Mouse Deer: Favorite Folktales of Southeast Asia
Aaron Shepard (Author) and Kim Gamble (Illustrator)

“I’m quick and smart as I can be. Try and try, but you can’t catch me!” Mouse Deer sings his song as he walks through the forest looking for tasty fruits and roots and shoots. Though he is small, he is not afraid. He knows that many big animals want to eat him — but first they have to catch him! In these delightful trickster tales from Southeast Asia, find out how Mouse Deer gets the best of his enemies — Tiger, Crocodile, and the most dangerous animal of all, Farmer! A reader’s theater script of this book is available on Aaron Shepard’s website.

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Asian-Pacific Folktales and Legends
Jeannette Faurot

The 65 myths and folktales in this volume are gathered from the rich heritage of legends in eight East and Southeast Asian countries, with the largest number of stories coming from China (17). The editor herself translates or retells 14 of the Chinese stories for this collection, while the others are reprinted from existing anthologies. The themes of many of the stories are similar to Western legends. The “fox fairy” stories contain vampirish seductresses, for instance, while in the Cinderella-like “Story of Tam and Cam” from Vietnam the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy acts like a fairy godmother and the stepdaughter is actually killed by her wicked stepmother. Though Faurot (Asian studies, Univ. of Texas) does not state the criteria for inclusion in this book, the stories are grouped by general categories such as “How Things Came To Be” and “Magic Gifts.” The collection gives a quick, multinational overview of some favorite Asian legends from China, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

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Lao Folktales
Steven Jay-Epstein

Here in one slim volume is a selection of the best-known and best-loved Lao folktales that have entertained the Lao people for generations. We meet the legendary trickster Xieng Mieng who matches his wits with merchants, monks, and kings. We find a quick-witted toad that terrifies tigers, a turtle that flies, a cadre of snails that race a rabbit, and a mynah bird that speaks five languages fluently.
The reader may recognize a whisper of Aesop or a Jataka tale, but each story is distinctively Lao, retold with Lao humor and charm reflecting a Buddhist culture in a Marxist state. Works by Anoulom Souvandouane, the foremost illustrator in Laos, enliven the stories.

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