What does White Winter Hymnal mean?

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Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal Meaning

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White Winter Hymnal Lyrics

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I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the,
I was following the pack,
All swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Jan 18th, 2013 1:30pm report


    The song is ripe with references to the french revolution.
    "Swallowed in their coats" refers to the style of puffy coat that was popularized during the revolution
    "Scarves of red" refers to the red scarves or hats worn to show loyalty to the revolution and those who didn't, especially nobility, were executed, hence the "keep their heads" and the "White snow as strawberries".



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    May 22nd, 2015 5:46pm report


    The song immediately made me think about the Russian Revolution. Those who wanted to survive wore the "strawberry red" scarves in of the revolutionary movement. Many who did not wear the scarves were assumed to be against the revolution and were beheaded. The revolution brought an end to the lives of the Czar and his family. One of the goals of the revolution was to bring an end to religion. The patron saint of the Czar's family was the Archangel Michael. The death of Michael could represent the end of the Czarist rulers and the religion.



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 28th, 2017 12:24am report


    You all have various well thought interpretations
    I thought they were singing about little birds,
    swallows, with red breasts, and could not figure
    out how that kept their heads from falling in the
    snow. Revolutionary scarves makes more sense to me.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  4.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 25th, 2017 12:20pm report


    Actually I was wrong. The word really is swallowed. My bad! Sorry guys



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 25th, 2017 12:04pm report


    A) the word is "swaddled", not "swallowed".
    B) can people please stop acting all superior and saying basically "ugh please! You're obviously wrong, it means what I think it does.." When an author writes something, the reader (or listener)'s belief is just as important as the author's. The knowledge we bring with our interpretation can be just as valuable as the author's intended meaning. The days of the author having 100% of the information relevant to their piece are gone. After all, Fleet Foxes literally said "it's lyrically meaningless."



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 22nd, 2017 12:51am report


    I think it's about war, and the scarves of red represents the color of one side. During the war a young drummer boy (Michael) is shot, shown as the first blood causing the battle to begin and covering the snow in blood.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 20th, 2017 12:48pm report


    I always think of a father with his kids, and while he's following them, one of the kids (Michael) gets behind and falls gets a scratch, and the father tries to make Micheal feel better about it and says how the snow looks like strawberries in the summertime. And when he talks about the little scarves i always imagine the father putting it around his kids throats, to protect them from the cold. I think its about keeping your spirits up, even when something hurts you, and the song is really uplifting too. It's probably not what the writer thought about, but as someone said already the songwriter said its meaningless anyway...



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 19th, 2017 12:38am report


    The band states that this song is pretty lyrically meaningless, and that it's a favorite to perform due to how vague it is. It's not about death :P but this is how I think of it:

    I always think of a Shepard boy following herd of sheep - but maybe even wolves, since they say "pack" - They are wearing red scarves, maybe so he can see them better. He's following them to keep their heads from falling in the snow, but Michael, a sheep or wolf or whatever, is a sweet clumsy creature and he falls in the snow :) the snow is red because of the scarf. That's all :)



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 16th, 2017 12:19pm report


    I think it's a dark Christmas memory someone had, by either a kid or parent, of a group of kids who were bundled up in coats with red scarves going out in the snow as friends,having fun, and when either a parent or a friend of Michael looked behind them, Michael was gone because he fell down a hill,"then I turned round and there you go, and Michael you would fall". And when they found him at the bottom, he was injured and bleeding out, then died, coloring the snow red with his blood.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 16th, 2017 12:02pm report


    I think it's a dark Christmas memory someone had, by either a kid or parent, of a group of kids who were bundled up in coats with red scarves going out in the snow as friends,having fun, and when either a parent or a friend of Michael looked behind them, Michael was gone because he fell down a hill,"then I turned round and there you go". And when they found him at the bottom, he was injured and bleeding out, then died, coloring the snow red with his blood.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 15th, 2017 12:57pm report


    It's about suicide.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  12.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 13th, 2017 12:49pm report


    Lead singer and songwriter Robin Pecknold : "It's lyrically fairly meaningless"



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 10th, 2017 12:01am report


    People keep telling me at school that it's a death song. I love to sing this song, but how I think of it is that a boy named Michael made a snowman. His head kept coming off, so Michael took his red scarf off, and put it on the snowman. The neck of the snowman turned red as strawberries because of the dye in the scarf. Or, Michael was playing around outside, and he tripped on a branch (for example), fell, and got a scrapped knee so bad, that it bled through his snow pants.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 8th, 2017 12:23pm report


    This song is not about death. It's about friendships falling apart in a christmas world.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  15.  

    Izzy
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    Dec 5th, 2017 12:34pm report


    I’m almost 100% sure it’s about the French Revolution. If people did not wear red hats or scarves and they would be seen as,”Not supporting the revolution.” So then they would decapitated

    “I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the
    I was following the pack” part to me resembled. A team of French revolutionist; multiple people a repeating the same thing as they are all following each other.

    “All swallowed in their coats
    With scarves of red tied ‘round their throats to keep their little heads from falling in the snow”

    They had to wear coats because-well-it’s cold. And the scarves resemble the red scarves they had to wear, or else their little heads would get decapitated. (most likely young boys, that’s probably why it says little heads)

    “And I turned ‘round and there you go
    And Michael you would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime.”

    Maybe Michael tripped and his scarve fell off so while he was rushing to find it (so he wouldn’t get decapitated) he possibly accidentally buried it under the snow. Or he was tired of living a miserable life having to fight in the revolution so he took it off wanting the sweet release of death.

    If you listen to the instrumental you can hear drums.OH GOD I HAVE ANOTHER THEORY. Maybe Michael was a young drummer boy who is extremely tired from carrying and playing a heavy drum so he passed it but as he was falling the scarf fell off and he got decapitated because they though he took it off on purpose.(this next one is following my first theory) Maybe the drums resemble the drums that the drummer boys are playing at his funeral, if they even gave him a funeral that is.

    Apart from all the theories, I must say that this is a very catchy and brilliant song.



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 5th, 2017 12:42am report


    Michael shall not fall. Indeed, in the nature of things, He can never fall. Simply because He is the Source of all life in the universe. His Name is Jesus Christ.
    All they that hate Michael and reject His wonderful salvation shall sadly be ashamed and lost forever. (John 3:16; Daniel 12:1)



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 3rd, 2017 12:30pm report


    Love this song... it’s swaddled, not swallowed!



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