Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How does the nursery rhyme "Ring around the Rosie" Relate to the Black Death?

         Ring around the Rosie is a children's song sung with smiling, laughing and hand-holding, but did you know it actually has very morbid roots? It actually relates to the Black Death. Now you wouldn't think that a children's song that everybody knows and loves would have to do with such a harsh topic. I guess that may explain why you always hear the children in scary movies singing this song. Nobody ever would have guessed that this song came from the roots of a disease that killed so many people it was thought to have end the world. So what do the lyrics mean? Well the meaning is almost as simple as the song and makes sense if you think twice about the song.
           The lyrics of the song are based ONLY off of the Black Death. Ring around the rosie is a reference to the black sores that would appear on your body as part of the plague. Your "rosie" is around the center of the back of your hand. A pocket full of posies is a reference to people would carrying posies (flowers) around to not smell the sickening scent of dead bodies everywhere. Ashes Ashes signifies the ashes from all the bodies being burned on pyres. Bodies couldn't be buried or else the infection would spread. We all fall down signifies death. The meaning wasn't later realized until a while after the Black Death had occurred. It still shocks many people to know that such an innocent song we used to sing when we were little has such a horrifying and disturbing meaning. Now when you hear this song will you think of it the same way you did before



  1. That is one sick and twisted song. There was no way I would have known that the Black Death was related to ring around the rosie. Nice post, maybe a little more detail.

  2. actually it's called the black plague

  3. actual its called the bubonic plague. But it has been given nicknames throughout the years because of its devestation

    1. actually, the bubonic plague is only one of the versions of the plague. There is the bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, and the septicemic plague.the It is actually called either the Black Death or the Black Plague or simply The Plague.

  4. "The Black Death" was in fact a combination of three different plagues in the 14th Century - Bubonic, Pneumonic, and Septicaemic.

    Ironically enough, despite being awfully close to the symptoms of the Black Death this children's song didn't exist for a couple of centuries after it occurred.

  5. Good article... but that's just an urban legend. Even though it's technically possible, most historians don't think it's true. Check out http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.asp (Don't worry, it's not a bad link. :)