Nuts in May: An Interpretive Analysis of Courtship and Capture


Kinsey Brooke (Indiana University)

A game may simply appear to be a succinct, entertaining activity, leaving the deeper meaning, often saturated with psychological, socio-evolutionary, and historical undertones, to be uncovered. This paper asserts an ethnographic investigation of the children’s game, “Nuts in May.” Through archival research from Ireland’s National Folklore Collection, Dúchas, I examine “Nuts in May,” targeting a nucleus of variants. Illuminating the choreographic symbolism, and the accompanying rhyme, I analyze the psychological, structural, political, and social themes of the game which connect to the wider paradigms of marriage by capture and social inequality.

Part of 12-07 "The Games I Play": Children's Games in 1930s Ireland, Monday, October 18, 11:15 am–12:45 pm