Folklore is the body of expressive culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, the forms and rituals of celebrations like Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites. Each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact. Just as essential as the form, folklore also encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. For folklore is not taught in a formal school curriculum or studied in the fine arts. Instead these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration. The academic study of folklore is called folkloristics.
Saint Guinefort was a 13th centurydog that received local veneration as a saint after miracles were reported at his grave. His story is a variation on the well-travelled 'faithful hound' motif, perhaps better-known to Anglophones in the form of the dog Gelert. The cult of this dog saint persisted for several decades, until the 1930s, despite the repeated prohibitions of the Catholic Church.