Florida is blessed with a semitropical climate, beautiful inland areas, and over a thousand miles of warm seas and sandy beaches. And Floridians are every bit as colorful and diverse as the tropical foliage. The interaction between Florida's people and its environment has created distinctive mixes of traditional life unlike those anywhere else in America.
Florida's cultural foundation includes Seminoles, Anglo-Celtic Crackers, African Americans, transplanted northerners, and ethnic communities, as well as cultural syntheses developed from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries in Key West, Tampa, St. Augustine, and Pensacola. In recent decades, the state's population has been strongly impacted by large-scale immigration from Cuba, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. South Florida leads other regions in the development of a contemporary cultural synthesis, but Orlando and Tampa are rapidly evolving. Even sleepy north Florida is experiencing a significant shift.
Although several books detail the traditions of specific Florida regions or folk groups, this is the first to provide an overview of Florida folklife. The Florida Folklife Reader brings together essays written by folklorists, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists on a wide array of topics. The authors examine topics as diverse as regional and ethnic folk groups, occupational folklife, the built environment, musical traditions, rituals, and celebrations.