National identity is the identification of citizens with the historical and cultural traditions of their country, moral values, ideals, and beliefs. National identity influences the lives of people since it has an impact on their behavior.
Myths and legends constitute an important part of a nation’s cultural tradition and have a strong connection with people. William A. Haviland, an anthropology professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, states “studying the myth-making process and its results can give valuable clues to the way people perceive and think about their world.” Other than having the explanatory function, myths also set cultural standards for proper behavior. Hence, people feel connected to the myths as they reflect their worldview and lifestyle.
As for the legends, they are also strongly connected to the people since they demonstrate culture’s approved or ideal ethical behavior. In particular, people establish a connection with these legends and myths because they express their values, worldview, and mentality. Myths and legends constitute the “collective unconscious” of the human race.
In a similar manner, the legends and myths are closely tied to the environment, specific geographical locations and natural monuments. Therefore, people feel connected with the land through the myths and legends that are tied to it. As William A. Haviland puts it, legends and myths “constitute one small thread in the complex way we construct our cultural identities, especially as those identities are tied to places.”
The narratives form national identity and a sense of place. Many legends and myths portray nature and natural phenomena as sacred characters and processes, which develop and sustain the relationship between a human and nature and encourages people to protect their land.