WordsHistory

What is a myth?

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A myth is a story that is passed along through time from person to person. Myths are not just any old stories, but stories with a purpose or lesson.

Most often we hear the word "myth" in connection to the Greeks or Greek Mythology, although lots of other cultures traditionally use myths to help explain the world. In ancient Greece, over 2,500 years ago, people didn't know how to explain things in the world, like why are there stars in sky or why does the sky turn pretty colors when the sun sets? Today, science helps us to understand many of these issues, but before modern science, people created myths to help them understand. These stories were sometimes involving religion, the relationship between the Greek Gods and people on earth or simply stories to teach about right and wrong.

But all myths have a purpose or bigger meaning than just the words, and they often include important symbols.

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)

Exploration

Myth Maker!

Have you ever been told any stories that were meant to teach you something important or why something is the way it is? Now it's your turn! Think of something you have learned from your parents or at school that was meaningful. Can you create an imaginative story or myth that would help you pass along this valuable lesson to a friend or family member? Just remember: when passing it along to others, make sure to tell them first that you are about to tell them a myth you created, not a story that actually happened!!

Further Information

That's just a myth!

The tricky thing about the word myth is that we use it today with an added meaning. Sometimes people use myth to mean that something is make-believe or not real. This is because the events or things that happen in a myth are pretty unlikely to have happened exactly as the stories tell us. The important thing to remember is that myths are not fact (meaning something that definitely happened) but more like an idea of what could have happened.

Sources

What is a myth? - In Search of Myth and Heroes. pbs.org