The childhood we are accustomed to, serene and joyful moments actually appeared literally “yesterday.” Only the 20th century allowed children to feel, express themselves and be individuals. And before that, babies were just sub-adults, sub-humans who had to grow up and prove the necessity of their existence by work. The song “Ring around the Rosie” is actually creepy because the words in the text are not entirely childish. They are too heavy and mature. But when children sing this song, they are unlikely to think about the meaning of the text because the most important thing is to sing it correctly. What is really fraught with a strange children’s song that is really well-known all over the world? What’s the main meaning behind the song “Ring around the Rosie”?
The story behind the song “Ring Around The Rosie.”
Due to plagues, unsanitary conditions, and starvation, children rarely had time to grow up. Therefore, they gave birth a lot, and if the heirs did not live to a conscious age, then not all parents were worried. In medieval Europe, they generally doubted that babies had a soul and were sure that they did not feel pain. But in spite of everything, the children played. They played with the ball as modern football, skittles, tags known to us, hopscotch – all these games came from Ancient Rome. Boys played duels and battles; girls played weddings and feasts with toy dishes. Children imitated the life of adults and played with what they saw around.
A lot of children jumped over a rope and through a hoop, which they let out in front of them. They inflated the frogs through a straw. Children even played games of chance – there are dice! The plague that raged in Europe left its mark on children’s games. Let’s take, for example, English counting rhymes, the echoes of which go far, far away in the era of plague epidemics. This is how a terrible song appeared, which says that every day lived can be the last. Remember all the films about the plague epidemic, all the historical reports. At that time, this terrible disease literally killed everyone, sparing no one.
What does “Ring Around The Rosie” mean?
As soon as the Second World War ended, folklorists analyzed the children’s song and agreed that it really originated in medieval Europe. The similarity between rhyme and text is closely related to a fatal disease at that time that claimed the lives of millions of people. “Ring Around” should not be taken literally because we are not talking about an accessory at all. Most likely, the title of the song says that the rings are foci of infection that appear on the skin of a person at the time of the plague. It’s like some kind of rash that looks like rings. Also, the meaning of the name is that it makes no sense to fight the plague because it will devour every person.
Understanding the meaning behind the song “Ring Around The Rosie.”
The circle around the rose is nothing more than a skin symptom of the plague. It’s really easy to guess. People carried herbs in their pockets to kill the stinking smell that reigned in the cities; the dust in the song is the consequence of burning bodies. Some lines have such words as “we all fall down,” and it means to fall dead. The players circled around their axis or danced in a round dance, saying a counting rhyme, and after the words “falling down,” they fell to the ground. The last one to fall was considered the loser. And now, let’s analyze the song line by line in order to fully convey the idea of the text and exhaustively answer all questions about what it is about.
“Ring around the roses, pocket full of posies.” If it became clear about the rings and what they are talking about, then what do the bouquets mean? In fact, bouquets are different flowers and herbs that have to be carried with people to prevent illness. If you remember, then at that time, they wore special plague masks on their faces with a beak like that of a bird, and so herbs were put into this beak to interrupt the smell.
“Ashes Ashes, we all fall down.” What kind of ashes, and why does everyone have to fall somewhere? The whole point is that ashes mean dust. In other words, the children sing about the fact that people die every day, and only ashes remain after them because every person infected with the plague was burned in the fire. A fall means death from disease. Creepy, isn’t it? It is especially creepy when children sing like that with smiles on their faces. Also, ashes mean the sound of sneezing. And, as everyone knows, sneezing was often considered the main symptom of the plague. If a person sneezed every five minutes, then it was clearly not a cold. By the way, that’s why people wore masks with a beak so that a suddenly ill person would not sneeze into their faces.
“Can do to fight the darkness in which we drown?”. Children obviously warn that in all this darkness and blackness, it is necessary to fight against any disease. The line hints at the need to not lose heart and stay positive. It seems to be the only positive line in the whole song. Not the fact that it pushes listeners to good thoughts. The question is structured in such a way that the children ask about whether it is worth fighting for health at all or leaving everything as it is. Since their parents have almost surrendered to the disease because many children have lost their mothers and fathers, there is nowhere to go – it is worth accepting the darkness. What else is there to do if you’re left alone? What else remains to be done if there are no more relatives and close people next to you?
“Ring around the roses, this evil thing, it knows me.” And here it is worth stopping in more detail. In the Middle Ages, belief in the devil was so strong that the most terrible creature that children were so afraid of was the devil. That is why he appears in the song so that everyone is afraid so that everyone is scared. Why does the devil have to know everyone? He doesn’t know who or what he looks like. In the face of the devil lies death, which absolutely does not care what a person looks like. Death does not care how much money a person has, it does not care about people’s talents. For it, the main goal is simply to take the soul, which it does. Therefore, the children sing that the devil is already near, it walks among the rest, and it is somewhere here. It knows everyone by sight, it is aware of who and when will leave this world.
“Last ghost around… I can’t fall down.” The scariest line in the whole song because it means the complete acceptance of death. In fact, it is terrible when children see dying with their own eyes. So in this song, they accept death, they have already come to terms with the fact that their death is inevitable, so they do not want to fall to the ground. They are fully prepared to go to the next world. Also, it should be noted that children are already so stuffed with the devil that they have no chance of resistance. And with their song, it seems as if they are calling him even closer to them.
“Feel the lovely sunshine, flowers all around – jump a little, jump right off the ground.” And it seems that there is nothing wrong with this line. But it only seems. In fact, we are talking about a grave that is covered with earth and forced with flowers. As a rule, flowers are always fresh and beautiful, smelling delicious, and just picked. The ground is still damp and loose, so it is pleasant to stand and jump on it, the ground is not hard. It gets creepy again.
If not for the plague in Europe, then the famous works that we know now would hardly have appeared. There would be no poems and similar children’s songs. You could say that the plague created an entire popular culture. Some folklorists argue that the song exaggerates what really happened. Firstly, not everyone had a red ring on their skin. Secondly, scientists are sure that the text of the children’s song has too harsh a rhyme, which has changed over time – and it has come down to the present in a distorted version. So, for example, the version of the song from 1800 and before is much different from what the words are now.
As for the translation of the song, “Rosie” is most likely the implied “bush.” Perhaps this is an elder bush, which was often used as the main herb that was in the plague mask. By the way, elderberry perfectly interrupted any unpleasant pungent odor. It turns out that the song is too pompous and builds something awesome out of itself. Most likely, it is. Perhaps, it’s about the origin of Rosie’s Ring suggests that we should be more aware of the various urban legends that are circulating under the false guise of history.