The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Then we go round bout a juniperbush

Traditional Norwegian, Så går vi rundt om en enebærbusk
Translation by Christian Stubø

MIDI / Noteworthy Composer

Refrain:
Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush,
juniperbush, juniperbush.
Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush,
early a Monday morning.

1. Then we do thus when we wash our clothes,
wash our clothes, wash our clothes.
Then we do thus when we wash our clothes,
early a Monday morning... Refrain:

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Tuesday morning...

2. Then we do thus when we rinse our clothes...
early a Tuesday morning... Refrain:

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Wednesday morning...

3. Then we do thus when we hang our clothes...
early a Wednesday morning... Refrain:

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Thursday morning...

4. Then we do thus when we roll our clothes...
early a Thursday morning... Refrain::

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Friday morning...

5. Then we do thus when we iron our clothes...
early a Friday morning... Refrain:

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Saturday morning...

6. Then we do thus when we wash our floor...
early a Saturday morning... Refrain:

Then we go round 'bout a juniperbush...
early a Sunday morning...

7. Then we do thus when to church we walk...
early a Sunday morning... Refrain:

Then we do thus when back home we walk...
early a Sunday midday...

This is a children's song used in children's parties in the rom-yule (the days between 2nd Day Christmas and New Year's Eve - there are many children's parties arranged then, normally termed Christmas-tree parties, as they involve a lot of singing and walking around the Christmas-tree). A bit of context regarding juniper and Christmas in Norway: In elder times, poor people generally could not afford the luxury of getting a proper Christmas-tree, but it was becoming a strong tradition relatively quickly, and poor people wanted to have the same traditions as wealthy people. The common poor man's solution was to have a pole, the heighth of a proper Christmas-tree, with holes drilled in it. They would then gather juniper-branches and plug in the whole, arranging them by size, so they got a Christmastree-shaped arrangement.

How the song is done:

This is a classic Christmas-tree game-song. To do this properly, one needs lots of kids (the more the merrier), and a Christmas-tree in the middle of the floor, preferably with lots of space round it. The children hold hands, forming circles around the tree. When the children sing the refrain (and they start with the refrain, and the refrain is not sung between or after the last two verses), they walk round the Christmas-tree. Then for each verse, they stop walking, separate, and demonstrate visibly the actions they sing about: washing clothes on an oldfashioned washboard, rinsing the clothes in a bucket of cold water, hanging the clothes on a clothesline to dry, rolling (mangling) the clothes in a handworked roller, ironing the clothes, and scrubbing the floors on their knees. On Sunday there's no work, but walking to the church, and for these two verses two and two children (preferably boy and girl) link arms, and walk first one way around the tree (going to church), and then the other way (going home from church) - and in these two verses they're properly promenading in mock-posh manner (with somewhat exaggarated arm-movements, particularly with the linked hands). When they sing the refrains, they link hands again, and resume walking round the Christmas-tree

 

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