Princesses have been at the core of children’s party entertainment for years, branching off from the standard party clown act of the 1950’s, when group parties for children became the thing-to-do, into the fairy tale favorites we all know and love.
But from where did these characters originate? Many come from the Brothers Grimm 1812 collection entitled “Children’s and Household Tales”. Did you know there are not one, but two, collections of Grimm’s fairy tales? And the first collection contained the story of “The Sleeping Beauty”, which was originally written by Charles Perrault, published in Paris, 1697.
The rise of romanticism in the 19th century is what led Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm to revisit these classic tales, “which had otherwise been on the decline since their late 17th century peak”.
These German brothers were students of academia and culture; during their research, they invited people of a varying social and economic status, everyone from peasants, to middle-class, to aristocrats to come and share their stories.
The Grimm brothers legacy has also been referenced in our modern-day movies, including “Ever After”, during which an old queen relays, what we the audience are to believe, is her story, the tale of “Cinderella”, as well as in the 2005 fantasy “The Brothers Grimm” starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger.
But why are these cautionary tales still popular today? Is it the romantic ideals they represent? Is it the aspect of danger? Some of them are down-right scary (as a little girl, I remember crying in the “Snow White” ride at Walk Disney World). Or, is it the adventure? As “Belle” says in Disney’s version of “Beauty and the Beast”, perhaps it’s the “Far off places, magic spells…” or the “…prince in disguise!” that children are drawn to. Fun fact: the original story, entitled “La Belle et la Bete” was written by a woman! Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s writing was published in 1740, but the most well-known version of the work was an abridgment published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, another woman. Could it be we ladies have a thing for beasts?
Perhaps there’s no telling exactly why these folk-tales are still so adored by people the world over. In many cases, these stories will also be children’s first experience with classic literature. For my part, no matter what gets kids interested in reading and storytelling, whether it be shiny crowns and ball gowns, or evil queens and magic beans, the simple fact that they’re engaged and entertained is enough.
May the princesses continue to live-long and sparkle! And if you’d like one to host your next children’s party, do give us a call, send an email, or use the handy contact form below.