February 12, 2012 - Paul Bunyan Day

This statute in Bangor, Maine is
said to be the largest statue of
Paul Bunyan in the world.
I'll be celebrating Darwin Day and Lincoln's birthday, but I will ALSO be tipping my hat to Paul Bunyan, who was born on this date in 1834, in Bangor, Maine.

Well, except for the fact that he may have been born in one of several towns in Michigan, on some other date. Or maybe in Minnesota. Or Nebraska. Or Wisconsin.

All five of these states lay claim to the giant lumberjack named Paul Bunyan. The truth is, he's a fictional character—so he wasn't actually born anywhere, at any time!

Paul Bunyan is a character from folklore, someone that people told exaggerated or funny stories about, orally and then in written form. Some scholars have claimed that Bunyan is really a character in fakelore—that is, someone people didn't tell stories about until after he was famous as an advertising icon.

Here is a story about his birth. It's definitely a “tall tale” – everything is exaggerated to show that Bunyan was really, really large. 

Here is the Disney version of Bunyan's life. 

AmericanFolklore has some more stories about Paul Bunyan. 

Here are those same stories with pictures. 

Also on this date:

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