When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair

When owls call the breathless moon
In the blue veil of the night
The shadows of the trees appear
Amidst the lantern light

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

Who will go down to those shady groves
And summon the shadows there
And tie a ribbon on those sheltering arms
In the springtime of the year

The songs of birds seem to fill the wood
That when the fiddler plays
All their voices can be heard
Long past their woodland days


And so they linked their hands and danced
Round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
When all the shades are gone

"A garland gay we bring you here
And at your door we stand
It is a sprout well budded out
The work of our Lord's hand"

Chorus x 2

Lyrics submitted by stacibug

Mummers Dance song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI love this so so much! Its just so beautiful. I can remember when I first heard this song~i was entranced with it. Loreena has such a beautiful voice.
    XEmoRockPrincessXon April 28, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentits such a beautiful song! i love it so much!!!

    its based on the celtic tradition of mumming, which are when a group of peformers dress up in masks and attach ribbons to their clothes and and setting out on a procession to neighbouring homes singing songs and carrying branches of greenery. It's primarily associated with springtime and fertility.

    some of the lines come from a song traditionally sung in Abingdon in Oxfordshire.
    duffon April 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmm... cool
    punkrockmayaprincesson September 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is awesome. Loreena is a great singer and I love her music.
    MrReallyBigBadManon April 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful. I actually hear it on my Pop radio station like once so many months or years, which is saying a lot considering it's a pop station.
    strybook23on March 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti heard this song before, but now know who sings it. anyway, i usually dont listen to this type of music but ive got no choice (living in Philly, mummers parades, etc).
    this song has its places in me - thats all I can say.
    Necronicon July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit doesnt matter that the lyrics dont translate well in the song (ive been trying to find the name and artist for 2 weeks now!)... its beautiful and hypnotic... shes a siren.

    canadian enya or not, this has worked its way into my regular rotation.
    wickedeston March 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an amaaaaaazing song, I love it so much! Wow, it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, if not THE. I have it under the name "Wiccan Dance".
    catsquaredon January 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAwesome song. Heard it before, lost track of it, recently heard it on the radio once again, became an instant fan. I love Celtic music, and this may be one of the best mainstream Celtic songs out there. Thankfully this song broke through to a wide audience.
    OpinionHeadon August 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure this song might be about the pagan holiday Beltane.

    The first verse contains a hint in this direction. Ash, oak, birch, and yew are four types of trees that were considered holy by Druids and are still venerated by some neo-pagan groups.

    The tradition of mumming is apparently associated with the holiday May Day in some regions. May Day is basically the same thing as the neo-pagan Beltane.

    At any rate, some neo-pagan groups definitely incorporate mummers in their modern Beltane celebrations.

    nortonewon April 17, 2009   Link

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