fertility

   The central theory of *Frazer's The Golden Bough was that much European folklore preserved rituals from archaic vegetation cults, in which men and women ensured fertility of trees and crops by having sexual intercourse at seasonal festivals; also, that this fertility corresponded magically to the virility of the local king or chief priest, who would be killed and replaced while still in the prime of life, to guard against any risk of impotence. This did not convince anthropologists (Ack-erman, 1987), but had a huge impact on novelists, popular writers, and journalists throughout the 20th century, as its bloodthirsty and sexual content gave it great appeal. Of all the
   Victorian mythological theories it is the only one still remembered; it has been so widely publicized that performers themselves now often believe their local custom to be 'a fertility rite', and say as much to enquirers. Certainly, bawdy humour is common in festive contexts, but for this very reason is more likely to be spontaneous, rather than a ritual survival from a remote culture.
   Among agricultural customs actually recorded in England, some do explicitly aim at ensuring success for crops or fishing (see *Plough Monday, *wassailing apple trees), and many others bring a more vague and general good luck, and/or joyfully celebrate natural processes such as the return of spring or the completion of harvest.
   For beliefs concerning human fertility, see *Cerne Abbas Giant, *conception.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Fertility — is the natural capability of giving life. As a measure, Fertility Rate is the number of children born per couple, person or population. This is different from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction (influenced by gamete… …   Wikipedia

  • fertility — fertility, fertility rate The actual level of childbearing of an individual or population. There are different ways of measuring the fertility of a population. The simplest measure, the crude birth rate , relates the number of live births in a… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Fertility — Fer*til i*ty, n. [L. fertilitas: cf. F. fertilit[ e].] The state or quality of being fertile or fruitful; fruitfulness; productiveness; fecundity; richness; abundance of resources; fertile invention; quickness; readiness; as, the fertility of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fertility — early 15c., from M.Fr. fertilité, from L. fertilitatem (nom. fertilitas) fruitfulness, fertility, from fertilis (see FERTILE (Cf. fertile)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • fertility — fertility. См. фертильность. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • fertility — index maternity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • fertility — fruitfulness, fecundity, prolificacy (see under FERTILE) Antonyms: infertility, sterility Contrasted words: impotence or impotency, barrenness, unfruitfulness (see corresponding adjectives at STERILE) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • fertility — [n] readiness to bear, produce abundance, copiousness, fecundity, feracity, fruitfulness, generative capacity, gravidity, luxuriance, plentifulness, potency, pregnancy, productiveness, productivity, prolificacy, prolificity, puberty, pubescence,… …   New thesaurus

  • fertility — [fər til′ə tē] n. 1. the quality, state, or degree of being fertile; fecundity 2. the birthrate of a given population …   English World dictionary

  • fertility — fer|til|i|ty [ fɜr tıləti ] noun uncount * 1. ) the ability of the soil to produce a lot of good crops or plants: measures to improve the fertility of the soil 2. ) a woman s ability to have babies: Utah has the highest fertility rate in the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • fertility */ — UK [fɜː(r)ˈtɪlətɪ] / US [fɜrˈtɪlətɪ] noun [uncountable] 1) the ability of the soil to produce a lot of good crops or plants measures to improve the fertility of the soil 2) a) a woman s ability to have babies Utah has the highest fertility rate… …   English dictionary

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