Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. Since "myth" is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be highly controversial. Many adherents of religions view their own religions' stories as truth and so object to their characterization as myth, the way they see the stories of other religions. As such, some scholars label all religious narratives "myths" for practical reasons, such as to avoid depreciating any one tradition because cultures interpret each other differently relative to one another.[1] Other scholars avoid using the term "myth" altogether and instead use different terms like "sacred history", "holy story", or simply "history" to avoid placing pejorative overtones on any sacred narrative.[2]

Myths are often endorsed by secular and religious authorities and are closely linked to religion or spirituality.[3] Many societies group their myths, legends, and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past.[3][4][5][6] In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form.[3][7][8][9] Other myths explain how a society's customs, institutions, and taboos were established and sanctified.[3][8] There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and the enactment of rituals.

The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures.[10][4][11][12] Others include humans, animals, or combinations in their classification of myth.[13] Stories of everyday humans, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.[10][12] Myths are sometimes distinguished from legends in that myths deal with gods, usually have no historical basis, and are set in a world of the remote past, very different from that of the present.[12][14]

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