Although some of the details of the plague offered in this putative “Ring Around the Rosie” explanation are reasonably accurate (sneezing was one of the symptoms of a form of the plague, for example, and some people did use flowers, incense, and perfumed oils to try to ward off the disease), the notion that they were behind the creation of this nursery rhyme is extremely implausible for a number of reasons: [“Ring Around the Rosie” is sometimes said to have originated with a later outbreak of the plague which occurred in London in 1665, to which all of the following reasoning applies as well.]. But, unfortunately, the rate did increase. ISBN 0-345-35985-2 (pp. You rely on Snopes, and we rely on you. Butler, William S. and L. Douglas Keeney. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000. Walk carefully on this ice or you will fall down. This sounds suspiciously like the “discovery,” several decades after the fact, that L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written as a coded parable about Populism. 205-206). Newell, William Wells. Varasdi, J. Allen. Although folklorists have been collecting and setting down in print bits of oral tradition such as nursery rhymes and fairy tales for hundreds of years, the earliest print appearance of “Ring Around the Rosie” did not occur until the publication of Kate Greenaway’s. Folklorist Philip Hiscock suggests: The more likely explanation is to be found in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. One of the picture frames fell down last night—that was the noise you heard. 1. Some modern nursery games, particularly those which involve rings of children, derive from these play-party games. “Ring Around the Rosie” has many different variant forms which omit some of the “plague” references or clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with death or disease. How Tootsie Rolls Saved American Soldiers During the Korean War, How a Polish Captain Infiltrated Into Auschwitz, The Power of Political Protest Through Poetry, The mystery of Jesus, the naked hippie dancer, The Survival Of Rome Through the Middle Ages, Norm or the Exception? It’s estimated that anywhere between 75–200 million people were killed from the Black Death throughout Eurasia and Europe between 1347–1351. Will collecting plastic bottle caps provide chemo treatments to cancer sufferers or prosthetic limbs for wounded soldiers? Ring-a-ring o’ roses, But there really isn’t a way to know for sure, as the sources for this rhyme have been long lost. Finally, “we all fall down” describes the many dead resulting from the disease. The Impact of the Plague in Tudor and Stuart England. Burne, Charlotte Sophia.
The falling down is said to represent death, and everyone “falls down” or dies, because the majority of the European population was wiped out during the time of the plague. Secret Messages. Ring Around the Rosie was one of those nursery rhymes, where we would all hold hands, stand in a circle, and turn while singing it. The practice of carrying flowers and placing them around the infected person for protection is described in the phrase, “a pocket full of posies.” “Ashes” is a corruption or imitation of the sneezing sounds made by the infected person. And the falling down refers to the jumble of bodies in that ring when they let go of each other and throw themselves into the circle. Help preserve this vital resource. Others might speculate that it really has no meaning and it’s just a regular kids rhyme and game. This blog is written out of the l❤️ve of History and sharing knowledge! “Pockets Full of Posies” stems from the lack of knowledge at the time about how diseases spread. Looking at the lyrics to this nursery rhyme will help us to dissect it, and give you some insights into how it’s actually about the plague. This can bring back so many fond memories for us, but the truth is, this nursery rhyme is speculated to be about the Plague! It was the government's duty to make sure their citizens were protected from a financial disaster like this, but they've fallen down on the job. Games and Songs of American Children. “Little Sally Saucer” (or “Sally Waters”) is one of them, and “Ring Around the Rosie” seems to be another. Oxford Univ. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the “play-party.” Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. The “Black Plague” was the disease we call bubonic plague, spread by a bacillus usually carried by rodents and transmitted to humans by fleas. Ring, a ring o’ roses, A pocket full o’ posies, Something carried to ward off the disease.
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