Tuesday, May 25, 2010


..is the Word Of The Day at Dictionary.Com today.  I subscribe to their service and it is marvelous.  They also have an excellent on-line dictionary and a translator.
What I remember from growing up in Iowa in the 1940s was that friends of the bride and groom would put a bed in the middle of a hay wagon pulled by a tractor.  Then they would kidnap the newlyweds and put them into the bed on the trailer and then drive around town followed by a bunch of cars all with beep their horns.  You could stand outside and tell where the procession was and what direction they were headed.
My hometown is in north central Iowa and does not have any strong French connections although a large population of Catholics do live in the area.
Here is the definition from Dictionary.com.
shivaree \SHIV-uh-ree\, noun:
1. A mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple.
2. An elaborate, noisy celebration.
1. To serenade with a shivaree.

I used to attend shivarees and I can remember the preparation and planning involved.
-- "Of pigs, jokes, and marriage." Lawrence World-Journal.
When my father got married (yes that was the 50's) his male relatives pulled a "shivaree," where they set up all kinds of surprises for the newly married couple to find on their wedding night. This included the typical short sheeting of the wedding bed, changing the content of the groom's shaving cream can, and other gags.
-- Isaac Grant Thompson, Irving Browne, Kentucky Folklore Record.
Shivaree is an adaptation of the French word charivari, which describes an old custom that celebrates a marriage. Shivaree is centered along the Mississippi.

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