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Ring Around The Rosy

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Where did 'Ring Around the Rosie' Come From?

Here, we will discuss one of the nursery rhymes, Ring Around the Rosy, which tells us interesting things about our ideas about folklore and folklore. It is sometimes also known as "Ring - a - Ring - a - Roses".

The origin and meaning of the game have long been unknown and subject to speculation. However, scholars of folklore consider the interpretation of the Great Plague to be unfounded, which has been most common since the mid-20th century.

The Bubonic Plague

The Bubonic Plague

Ringa Ringa Roses's Lyrics

Do you remember being a little kid? If so, you probably remember playing on an elementary school playground or in the backyard of a grandparent or friend's house. If you remember these days, you probably also remember shaking hands with some young friends and singing the song of the nursery rhyme, "Ring Around the Rosie."

Lyrics: Ring Around the Rosy

Ring Ringa Roses

Pocket Full of Posies

Ashes, Ashes

We All Fall Down.

Common Indian versions end with: 

"Husha Busha

We all fall down."

Ringa Ringa Roses

Ringa Ringa Roses

Ringa Ringa Roses Meaning

"Ring Around the Rosie" is actually a deadly little poem about the bubonic plague in London in the 1600s. 'My God,' you must have wondered how kids can sing about things like this. You learned at that moment that little kitty wasn't meant to be a cute crap nursery rhyme, but a chant of the damned.

Ring Around Rosie means an itchy rash around an infected wound of a person who is sick with the plague. The pockets full of posies were flower paddles that plague doctors showered on their dead patients, which also helped to remove their odour. Ashes, ash means the remains of the funeral pyre of the deceased. And yes, sick or not: we all fall down (at the end of our lives).

According to American Children's Games and Songs, the pub did publish in 1883, "Rosie" was a reference to the French word for rose tree and children would dance and stoop to the person in the centre. Variations, especially the more literal ones, were identified and noted with the literal falling down that would break the play-verse connection. Then in 1898, the sneeze was considered a sign of many superstitions and supernatural beliefs in various cultures.

Children's Game and Song

Children's Game and Song

Solved Questions

Write True or False.

1. The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosie is about the Flu. - False.

2. Rosie referred to the soars on the body. - True.

3. The pocket full of posies are the flowers given to the sick. - False.

Learning by Doing

Kids Activity: Ringa Ringa Roses Game

A group of children stand in a circle and sing a rhyme.  Each child reads only one word from the rhyme, and then the next child recites the next word.  The child who recites the last word has to leave the circle, and then the next child starts rhyming again until the other child leaves the circle. Similarly, they continue, and in the end, only one child remains, and he will be the winner.


It is unknown what the earliest words of rhyming were or when they originated.  Several versions of the game involve a group of children forming a ring, dancing in a circle around a person, and stooping along the last line. The slowest child to do so faces a penalty or becomes the "Rosie" (literally: rose tree, from French rosier) and takes his place in the centre of the ring.

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FAQs on Ring Around The Rosy

1. State one reason why Folklore scholars consider the poem's interpretation of the Great Plague to be baseless.

An explanation of the plague did not appear until the middle of the twentieth century.

2. What is the meaning of Rosie?

The Rosie means rose tree, derived from the French word Rosier.

3. Why do people think this rhyme is about the Great Plague?

The constant sneezing and falling in modern English versions have caused the original discoverers to say that the poem is of the great plague. A pink rash, he alleges, was a symptom of the plague, and supplements of the herb were taken to protect and ward off the smell of the disease.  Sneezing or coughing was the last fatal symptom, and "falling all down" was exactly what happened.

4. Who wrote Ring Around the Rosie?

As there are many speculations about it, however, mostly it is known that Charlotte Gainsbourg wrote the "Ring-A-Ring-O-Roses" Poem. She was a British-French actress and singer.