This next entry is about a series that is close to my heart, but you’ve probably never heard about it before. It is called Hungarian Folk Tales. The series is so iconic that anyone who claims to be Hungarian will recognize the aesthetics and the opening theme. It is deeply ingrained into Hungarian culture.
Hungarian Folk Tales is a cartoon series that depicts folktales from all around the country. Each episode has its own unique decorative style that reflects where the tale originated from. The vivid colors and playful music created many memorable episodes. In 2008, the episode titled How I Passed my Childhood? won first place in the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. The series also garnered international recognition in China and Japan. Hungarian Folk Tales ran from 1980-2012, and it included one hundred, 8-10 minute episodes. The series concluded after 9 seasons. All the episodes are available on YouTube; links below.
The Salt (Princess)
The Salt is the first episode in the series and it also my favorite one. It should give you a good idea about how the episodes are structured. There is folk art and music combined with witty dialogue and humor.
It seems like every country has their own Cinderella story. Let me know if you can spot the differences. 😛
Hungarian Folk Tales is not only a charming series, but an important step towards preserving history and culture. I hope that by watching a couple of episodes you will see its value and appreciate it as much as I do.
Did any of the episodes remind you of a story from the region you are from?
Hungarian Folk tales
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PreviousDefunctland – Do You Know Your Theme Park?
Do you remember the first time you went to an amusement park? I have a vague memory of it, I was young enough that the adventure was magical, yet terrifying. Magical because of the colorful rides, the thrills and the cotton candy, and terrifying because I got lost inside a giant inflatable caterpillar tunnel, (a story for another time.)
I always thought of theme parks as “in the moment”. You go there for a day, have fun and then you never think about it again until the next time you go, or until you come across some pictures. All of this changed when I came across the Defunctland YouTube channel.
Defunctland is a series focusing on the history of theme parks and rides, specifically attractions that are no longer in use today. The series is created by Kevin Perjurer, YouTuber and theme park enthusiast. Each episode is a 10-20 minute long, well researched and produced trip to the past. We learn about how the idea of a certain ride was born and how it was constructed, coupled with concept art, interviews, commercials and other promotional materials that depict this entire process. We often learn about how the ride was perceived by the public at the time of its creation, how it performed and any other notable events leading up to its closure.
I never thought about amusement parks having a history, or that people might be interested in learning about it. The more videos I watched the more fascinated I became with the topic, and it wasn’t long before I watched hours upon hours of content. The experience is a charming, but almost sad nostalgia, as at the end of each episode the conclusion that “none of this exists anymore” hits you. One episode that made me feel like I really missed out on something special was titled Defunctland: The History of Journey into Imagination.
DefunctTV has the same idea as Defunctland, but instead of extinct parks and rides, it focuses on the history of bygone TV shows. The first one of these episodes is titled DefunctTV: The History of Bear in the Big Blue House. The most recent videos on the channel are part of a six-part documentary series about the life and work of Jim Henson, American puppeteer, creator of the Muppets. I highly recommend watching them, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.
VR Park and Podcast
In between regular episodes there is the Defunctalnd Podcast. These episodes are usually between 40 to 60 minute long and feature a guest host such as: former attraction employees, imagineers, fellow YouTubers and other celebrities. Each guest brings their unique experience and perspective to the discussion as they delve deeper into everything theme park related.
Besides the podcast and the show, however there is one more unique and ambitious project that makes this channel stand out, and that is the VR Park. Since the channel is centered around retired rides, there was this concept ever since the beginning to bring all of these extinct attractions into a VR environment where they can live and be remembered forever. The first such parts to be released will be called “The Dark Zone”. According to the website“It will feature a full land to roam, including four attraction and one restaurant exterior, and two attraction demos.”
Ask a Mortician – not your typical YouTube channel
the second diamond
Ask a Mortician is not your typical YouTube channel. I’m not actually sure what a typical YouTube channel is, but I know that this channel is the opposite of that. The host is Caitlin Doughty, mortician/funeral director and best selling author. As such, you would think her channel would be more widely known, but you would be wrong. This made me sad, so I decided to write about it.
The philosophy of Ask a Mortician could be summarized with this one sentence:
“I believe that the culture of silence around death should be broken through discussion, gatherings, art, innovation,
In a classic Ask a Mortician episode Caitlin takes questions from the comment section and—using her expertise as a funeral director—answers them. “What does it take to become a mortician? How do you dress a corpse? Do I really get my mother’s ashes in the urn, or is it just cement dust?” Do you have questions about cryogenics, mummies, or anything death related? You have come to the right place! This small corner of the internet is dedicated to discussion about death.
A large number of Caitlin’s videos comment on the current state of the western funeral industry, our burial traditions and why innovation is necessary to combat our unsustainable practices. How long can we continue to waste resources trying to stop the inevitable decay of our dead bodies? What other alternatives are there?
Death and taxes
Most people are not ready to face death. Most people don’t even want to talk about it. It is a horrible thing to lose someone, and being unprepared for it makes it so much worse. If you had to call a funeral home right now, what would say? Do you know the right questions to ask? Are there any red flags you should pay attention to? Remember, you would be at the most vulnerable time of your life, relying on the help of a complete stranger, who could be the sweetest most honest person you have ever met, or he could be someone who would try to take advantage of your grief. If the questions above made you feel unprepared, consider watching this video, it will make you feel better.
The second-half of Caitlin’s videos focus on culture and history. There are segments such as “Iconic Corpse”, which takes a look at dead bodies that became famous due to their extraordinarily well preserved state, or some sort of horrible mismanagement. “Morbid Minute” is… well… morbid. but these episodes are usually around 3 minutes long and focus on a single, strange tidbit in history, such as the consumption of lovely, green, arsenic candy, or the act of chilling inside a decomposing whale. You know, normal things. On that note, I would argue that all of her videos are morbid minutes, with such classic titles as:
I haven’t realized there were so many things about this subject I never knew before. I never wanted to be embalmed, even before I saw an actual embalmed body I thought it was strange. Now, I’m 100% sure that I don’t want to be embalmed, and I feel like most people wouldn’t if they would know what does it actually entail. The world “embalm”, is a nice word. It implies something nice and desirable, like putting lotion on your skin. It doesn’t invoke the image of a big ass needle stabbing you in the abdomen.
For the longest time I wanted to be cremated. It seemed cheaper, but most importantly it skipped the “maggots feasting on my eyes” phase of decomposition, which made me uneasy. I’ve never considered how much energy is wasted by cremating a single person, nor did I know that the end result is infertile dust that can’t nourish anything; a blow to everybody who thought they would become part of a tree after their ashes are scattered. Listening to Caitlin describe her own death plan with confidence made made me more comfortable with my own mortality.
“Looking mortality straight in the eye is no easy feat. To avoid the exercise, we choose to stay blindfolded, in the dark as to the realities of death and dying. But ignorance is not bliss, only a deeper kind of terror.”
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty has written two books so far. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is a memoir that describes her first job as a crematory operator with the help of gallows humor and corpses. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death explores death rituals around the world, comparing our lack of interaction with the dead against the rich traditions of other cultures. The book introduces the reader to alternative forms of burial, some of which are not currently legal in the US, but one day could become the norm.
When I recommend people to see a movie or read a book, I’m usually specific. I never say “Yes, I recommend this to everybody.” There are not many things you could recommend to everybody, since people have a wide range of tastes and interests, however this is one of the rare cases when I can honestly say, I do recommend these books to everybody, because no matter how different we are, we will all experience death at some point in our lives. I will die. You will die. Everybody will die at some point.
Greatest book trailer ever?
Death positive is a movement and a way of thinking. It promotes the ideas you have been reading about so far. If you would like to know more here is a better description of what it really means,
…and because this is equally important, here is a description of what it is NOT.
If you decide that you want to do more, you can find a list of resources here.
If you are like “meh, I’m not really into all that reading”, there is this 30 minute documentary for you to enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, but more than that, I hope you learned something new.
Seriously though, check out her videos, that channel needs more love.
Previous Rare Earth – A Follow up to the YouTube Nightmare