Art And Culture

Khuzestan Reviving Legacy of Storytelling

Khuzestan Reviving Legacy of Storytelling
Khuzestan Reviving Legacy of Storytelling

The second edition of the ‘Festival of Storytelling’ is slated for December in the southwestern Khuzestan Province.

The festival aims to introduce and promote the culture of storytelling, collect and preserve a part of oral traditions for future generations and motivate the society to respect their cultural heritage, Mehr News Agency reported.

“Storytelling is an ancient tradition, portraying cultural content and traditions transmitted by word of mouth through successive generations. Today’s children should try to preserve this valuable heritage,” said Mojtaba Gahestoni, festival secretary and head of TARYANA Cultural Society (Society for Friends of Cultural heritage of Khuzestan Province).

Oral storytelling is an ancient and intimate tradition between the storytellers and their audience. The storyteller and the listeners are often seated together in a circular fashion. The close bonds and connection is deepened by the flexibility of oral storytelling which allows the tale to be molded according to the needs of the audience and/or the location or environment of the telling.

Storytelling is the conveying of events in words and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values.

Oral storytelling is one of the most ancient art-forms and has a long history.  Stories have been passed on by word of mouth, since long before reading and writing became commonplace.  In the past these stories served as a means of communicating news, explaining the origins of life, the Universe, and all that lies therein.

  Vast Dimensions

Storytelling encompasses a vast heritage of lore, myths, epic tales, folk tales, travelers’ tales and all the great traditional legends from around the world. These stories are not learned by rote or read from books but retold by the tellers, making each interpretation unique.  It is more than just performance or entertainment; it can also educate, heal, lead to better practice in business, inspire and change lives.

Stories cover a large area of life’s dimensions about history, wars, celebrations, heroes, love, happiness, failure, ethical and religious teachings, “although no exact date can be marked for the birth of storytelling,” Gahestoni said.

“But we are aware that the history of storytelling in Iran is ancient.”

A good part of ancient Iranian traditions have faded into oblivion over the passage of time and due also to technological advancements. “The storytelling event will provide a good opportunity to revive the forgotten verbal Persian literature.”

December 6 is the deadline for those interested to submit their storytelling samples in audio records or video clips, to the provincial Organization of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

The submitted works will be judged on December 16, and selected participants will be announced during the festival slated for December 23 at Helal Cinema Hall in the provincial capital Ahvaz.