This is news to me. I mean, it’s 300 year old news but that’s usually about how long it takes for me to find out about things. It turns out that the Hokey-Pokey is an anti-Catholic song. When I think about all the birthday parties I went to as a child and was forced to dance this, I try to be shocked and appalled. I’m wondering if I can be retroactively appalled. Here’s the scoop
according to the UK Telegraph:
…According to the Catholic Church and some Scottish politicians, singing the popular tune that begins with the words “You put your right hand in, your right hand out,” may constitute an act of religious hatred.
A spokesman for the leader of the church in Scotland said the song had disturbing origins.
Critics claim that Puritans composed the song in the 18th century in an attempt to mock the actions and language of priests leading the Latin mass. Now politicians have urged police to arrest anyone using the song to “taunt” Catholics under legislation designed to prevent incitement to religious hatred.
Supporters of Rangers FC have been banned from singing anti-Catholic songs at Ibrox stadium to taunt their rivals Celtic, a club with Catholic roots. But fans of the club are said to be discussing on internet forums the possibility of getting round the ban by singing the Hokey Cokey at next week’s Old Firm derby between the clubs.
Peter Kearney, a spokesman for Cardinal Keith O’Brien, said: “This song does have quite disturbing origins. Although apparently innocuous, it was devised as an attack on and a parody of the Catholic mass. “If there are moves to restore its more malevolent meaning then consideration should perhaps be given to its wider use.”
According to the church, the song’s title derives from the words “hocus pocus”.
The phrase is said to be a Puritan parody of the Latin “hoc est enim corpus meum” or “this is my body” used by Catholic priests to accompany the transubstantiation during mass. Several years ago, a canon from Wakefield Cathedral said the dance came from the days when priests celebrated mass with their backs to the congregation and whispered the Latin words of consecration with many hand movements.
Michael Matheson, the SNP MSP, said it was important that the police and football clubs were aware of the sinister background of the song and took action against groups who used it in matches. But opposition politicians and football fans ridiculed the critics of the ditty. Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, said: “I can’t believe Scottish children performing the Hokey Cokey are doing so in pursuit of any sort of anti-Catholic agenda.”
After doing some research on the internet and speaking to my soccer nerd brother-in-law I’ve learned that the Catholic-Protestant divide is pretty pronounced between these two clubs. So it likely had anti-Catholic intent. But look, these poor people have to sit through an entire soccer game. Do you know how boring that is? Every game I’ve ever seen ended in a 1-1 tie. Every one. So these folks have to make their own fun. I half think all the riots in Europe are just because soccer games are so boring. They need to make the nets bigger or something. I just can’t get myself worked up about it.
But if my kids go to a birthday party and the hokey-pokey is sung I’m suing. Anyone got the number for the ACLU?