This is an interesting song, and I have only heard it in a-cappella style–in fact, only by the Catatonics (now NuTones), a graduate a-cappella group at Northwestern. When I think of the song, the title makes me think of holidays.
One reason is (hopefully) obvious: I only seem to hear the word “merry” associated with Christmas, i.e. the greeting “Merry Christmas.” Another reason is the style that seems somewhat madrigal.
According to the dictionary, the word “merry” can mean cheerful and lively, festive and rejoicing, or even a little bit schnonkered (inebriated). Clearly, that last definition would not apply to me, but it does raise an interesting point.
In America, it seems that most holidays are associated with alcohol (or is it the other way around: alcohol is associated with most holidays in America?). You hear of people getting “merry” on Christmas, perhaps as a way to find a way to escape all of the family time and in-laws, etcetera!
In the Lincoln Journal Star, holidays such as New Year’s, Independence Day, and Memorial Day often encouraged a full-page public service announcement. It was about how to ensure a party that is a smashing (rather than smashed) success. My favorite line from it was always, “Coffee and showers only make people wide awake and wet! Only time will sober up someone who has been drinking.”
Holidays in other cultures will also include alcohol, but not all of them (e.g. Islam). For example, in Judaism, wine is an important symbol of life, and is included at all holiday meals as part of קידוש (Kiddush–sanctification of the day). However, getting sloshed is NEVER the goal…
Oh, wait. Never say never. One of the Jewish holidays, פורים (Purim), is associated with raucous behavior. The Scroll of Esther is read, chronicling the story of how מרדכי (Mordecai) saved the Jewish people from המן (Haman) …
<Members of the congregation shake groggers>
<Noah blows a whistle, having worn a referee’s outfit for the Purim service>
<Other noises are heard>
the Agagite from a plan of annihilation. Some commentaries say that one is supposed to get sufficiently inebriated so as to be unable to distinguish Mordecai from Haman.
Of course, I never went to such extremes, given how I have never violated Rules Number Zero and One.
Hmm… and as I was writing this, one of the other “songs” on my MP3 player that came up was about recovery… perhaps from drunken stupors! It was the first talk segment of Sunny-Side Up With Kristin and Lindsay from November 1, 2013, where they talked about recovery from Halloween, and also gave me a shout-out. (So I cheated a little bit, but it is amazing sometimes how well the theme of a shuffle ends up being, if you look for it!)
Today is the one-hundred and twenty-third day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes seventeen weeks and four days.
היום שמונה-עשר יום, שהם שני שבועות וארבעה ימים לעומר
Today is the third day of the third round of M.A.P.L.E.