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Ring Around The Rosie....The History Behind The Rhymn

Updated on February 22, 2009

Ring Around The Rosie



Almost everyone has heard the popular children's rhymn, Ring Around The Rosie. The origins of this rhymn are controversial. Apparently the original text has been changed throughout the years and there are different lyrics in different countries.

The version that most people believe describes the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague is as follows:

Ring around the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down.

Ring Around The Rosie
This is believed to be describing the characteristic pustules surrounded by red rings that are associated with the Bubonic Plague.

A Pocket Full Of Posies
This is believed to be describing the ritual of placing posies in the pockets of the recently deceased plague victims. This was done to decrease the smell associated with the disease.

Ashes, Ashes
This part of the rhymn is believed to discuss the ritual burning of the bodies. They would burn the bodies to decrease the chances that the plague would be passed on by touching the body.

We All Fall Down
It was believed that the Bubonic Plague would completely destroy the people of Europe and Asia. It is estimated that this plague killed nearly thirty-five percent of the people of that time.

If this rhymn is not about the plague, it definitely does a good job relating to it. You decide.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      this is a vary good site

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Samething Anna

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This song gives me the creeps if I sing it or I just read the words

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Who ever made this is creepy this song is scary

    • profile image


      7 years ago

    • profile image

      Curtis F 

      8 years ago

      This post is just as debated as evolution vs. creation. Its hard to prove that this rhyme came from the Black Death, however good points have been made to help support this claim. On the other side many people disagree with the claim that this rhyme came from this bubonic plague. Just like creationism and evolution its all what you choose to believe in.

      Creepy or not, it's amazing how something like this has spawned so much in past and current cultures. I.E. skull and cross bones. A change in political and religious powers in Europe. Agriculture and the economy during the times were greatly changed.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved playing ring around the rosies as a kid. I never knew the orgin of it until I was older and read about it in the National Geographic magazine. Creepy, yes it is. But the tune of it is catching. I sing it to my 16mo and he spins around. It is very morbid, but its no worse than Rock-a-by baby if you think about it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      is it copyright

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It is also believed that the Pockets full of posies actually relates to the carrying of flowers by the living in order to cover the stench of the dead and inhibit the contraction of the disease. In that era many rumors abounded that the plague had come on the winds. Therefore, breathing pleasant things like Posies killed whatever was in the air.

      An additional note. Grave robers of the dead (it is believed) were interogated as to how they could rob the graves of the plague inflicted dead and not acquire the disease. Itnerrogations revealed that the robbers would cover themselves with extracted oils from various herbs. Makes you wonder about the validity of oils and herbs written of in the bible...

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      9 years ago

      this is so scary my friend mia told me about it when i was little and we would play it over and over and one day my friend died and nobody knew why it still hauntes me everytime one of my kids play that i yell at them

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i am from asia and all my kids play ring around the rosie but one day one of my kids died and i don't know what happened to huim :(

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well, StoneBridgeFarm, I wonder if you expected these comments!

      The background on the poem reminds me that people don't stop to think about truth, don't care that it's important, are uninterested in the ramifications of ignoring it.

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      10 years ago

      isn't it weird how its so erlated though? i was told it was for burnign children and how the people would pur things on tehm and them light thtem on fire./

    • profile image

      Trish jones 

      10 years ago

      I think this rhyme is very scary. Most people say it calls the devil but het that's just them. When i was small i sing it all the time. but now that i am older and i know the truth HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If i ever have kids i will make sure they never sing that song!!! That scary stupid song! : + (

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      it's very interesting, i never really listened to the lyrics that closely when i was little to uncover what the ryme was truly about

    • moonlake profile image


      11 years ago from America

      Good hub. I think you are completely right about this. I read about it in a book someplace one time.

    • profile image


      11 years ago



    • KCC Big Country profile image


      11 years ago from Central Texas

      Your version is what I've always heard.  I haven't researched it, but I'm like you, it sounds plausible.

      BTW, welcome to HubPages! I would add some more keywords to your hub. I would add "ring around the rosie", "ashes", "bubonic plague", "plague", and "we all fall down". That way any of those will result in a hit for your hub on HubPages.


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