In the recent refugee crisis, cultural differences between the refugees and the local population in Europe are portrayed as a main obstacle for integration and as an element that increases the reluctance of the local population in certain countries to accept positively refugees in their own communities. This is also the reason why many times refugees from Ukraine (that make part of the European culture), for example, are usually more positively accepted than refugees from the Middle East. In many cases, however, cultural differences are only apparent. European countries and the countries of the Middle East (especially Syria) from which most of the refugees are coming from share many cultural characteristics especially related with the popular culture. The highlighting of these shared cultural characteristics could have a crucial role in the promotion of the social inclusion of the refugees and the promotion of mutual understanding of each other’s culture.
A simple, easily explained way to highlight this shared popular culture which has a direct impact on both populations is the use of fairy tales.
The fairy tale is a short popular story that includes in a concentrated form all these elements that constitute the cultural perception of a whole nation. It synthesizes the people’s mythology, constituting an imaginary narration that embodies the wisdom of a people, its experiences and its history. In this respect, the people from the Middle East and Europe, independently of their differences, they have common characteristics, expressed through their oral traditions that can be easily propagated. The popular traditional fairy tale is an ark which keeps all the cultural treasures of a nation (ideologies, attitudes, morals, customs, religion rituals and ceremonies, beliefs, principles and ideals, costumery habits, and more elements of every-day life) that are kept hidden in the tales and wait for their decryption in order to provide their lessons.