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It's interesting, isn't it?
We always find 'Ring-a-Ring-a Roses' a bit grim! The Bubonic Plague or 'The Black Death' was thought to have killed 25 million people in just under 5 years, between 1347 and 1352.

'Ring-a-Ring-of-Roses' supposedly refers to the first sign of the onset of the disease. Before lesions would develop on the skin, small rings of red bruise-like marks would appear.

'A pocket full of posies' supposedly refers to a pouch of sweet smelling flowers that doctors used to carry with them thinking it would ward off the infection. 'A pocket full of posies' would also go some way to mask the smell of rotting corpses.

'Atichoo!, Atichoo!' was thought to be the physical proof that you had the Plague. 'We all fall down' - speaks for itself!


Thank you Linda and Lisa. It's fascinating that these lovely sweet nursery rhymes are based on such gruesome historical events.I wonder if lullabies are enough to give us nightmares!



Lisa :-)

Rose Carroll

could londons burning have ment the fires the bombs in world war2 caused but it is true about the meaning of ring around the roses that did come from the plague

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Jen Harvey

Thanks Lisa for the information because as a primary school student in Jamaica we always sang these songs but were never told the meaning behind them. London Burning and London Bridge is falling down.

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