Monday, June 16, 2014


The History Behind the Lore

Childlore is the folklore or folk culture of children and young people. It includes, for example, rhymes and games played in the school playground or neighborhood park that have been passed from one generation to the next. Other forms include pranks, codes, and songs and many are most often shared orally and learned through repetition.
One of the more common American examples is an urban sidewalk rhyming game:
If you step on a crack you break your mother’s back
If you step on a line you break your father’s spine

Some childlore contains codes that refer to events and activities that were current at the time the code was created. Here are a few examples:
Ring Around The Rosie game. It is believed that this game used words that referenced but did not specifically name the time of the plague that killed so many in England.
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary which is reported to be a criticism of the rule of Queen Mary.
Humpty Dumpty some say referred to King Richard III/
Little Jack Horner was a nursery rhyme said to be about the last monastery in England met its demise.

Childlore, unlike other forms of folklore, is unique because over the centuries it has been very well preserved. Most of the words have remained intact even without children knowing the history behind the lore.

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