Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack is one of the most popular clapping game. It is first found in written form in the United States in 1888. Although the song is American, even mentioning the 4th of July, it is very popular throughout the English speaking world.

Who is Mary Mack

Little is known about who Mary Mack was but given its geographical origin, it is believed that Mary Mack was referred to the warship USS Merrimack named after the Merrimack River. The theory might be true as the Merrimack’s color was black with silver rivets.

Game Instructions

The clapping game is played by two persons standing or sitting opposite each other while clapping their hands rhythmically.

The game starts with the hands positioned together facing your partner. Next, cross your hands and put them on your chest (left hand on your right shoulder and vice versa). The person facing you should do the same. This is the time you should start singing the first word of the song.

Next, while saying the second syllable, place your hands on your hips. While continuing the song, place both hands together again in the starting position.

The fourth move will be the first one where you will meet your partner’s hands but it will not be a straight clap but one done diagonally (your right hand meets your partner’s right hand) while singing the next syllable of the song. Then the two left hands meet diagonally and finally the two hands meet each other. Repeat the process with each line of the song.

“Miss Mary Mack” Lyrics

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back. (or “Up and down her back back back”)
She asked her mother, mother, mother
for fifty (or 15) cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants (or hippos or cows)
Jump the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
they reached the sky, sky, sky
And didn’t (or never) come back, back, back
Till the 4th of July ly ly.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 5 cents more, more, more
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump the door, door, door.
They jumped to the flow flow flow
they stubbed their toe toe toe
and that was the end end end
of the elephant show show show.

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