Here we go gathering Nuts and May. [+ 'in May']

Yuuichi Tam

Senior Member
Japanese
We can play "Here we go gathering nuts and May" with the end part of an ant's nest.

This is from Winnie-the-Pooh. What kind of games is "Here we go gathering nuts and May"?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Se16teddy gives the "rules of the game" but the origin of "Here we go gathering nuts and May" has a complicated answer because the phrase is now no longer the same as it was when it was written.

    The word "nuts" is a corruption - it should be "knots", where a knot = a bunch.
    "and" is a corruption - it should be "of".
    May is "the blossom of the Hawthorne tree"
    Maying (gerund) was the action of celebrating the month of May which was considered as the season of spring. Because hawthornes trees bloom in spring, their blossom was used for decoration.
    To go a-maying has the literal meaning of (i) gathering blossom and other flowers to decorate a house or a gathering place (ii) cerebrating the festival. and the extended meaning of (iii) 1824 M. R. Mitford Our Village I. 81 A country Maying is a meeting of the lads and lasses of two or three parishes, who assemble in certain erections of green boughs called May-houses, to dance. (iv) To go somewhere secluded with your girlfriend/boyfriend for romance.
    The Times Questions answered

    What is the meaning of the nursery rhyme “Here we go gathering nuts in May”? Nuts are gathered in the autumn.

    This is the “refrain” of an old children’s game and is a corruption of “Here we go gathering knots of may”, referring to the old custom of gathering knots of flowers on May Day. The ordinary phrase would be “to go a-maying”. There are no nuts to be gathered in May.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I am not sure how you get ants to play it.
    That may be the point. Winnie the pooh and his friends are on an expedition to find the North Pole. Eeyore is explaining his disdain for the project, and this may be an intentionally ridiculous proposal: "We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts and May' with the end part of an ant's nest. It's all the same to me."
     

    Yuuichi Tam

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    this may be an intentionally ridiculous proposal: "We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts and May' with the end part of an ant's nest. It's all the same to me."
    I agree with you. I wondered how they could play it with the end part of an ant's nest.
     
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