White Winter Hymnal lyrics by Fleet Foxes, 13 meanings. White Winter Hymnal explained, official 2019 song lyrics | LyricsMode.com
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Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal lyrics
I was following the pack
All swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin' in the snow
And I turned 'round and there you go

And, Michael, you would fall
And turn the white snow red as strawberries
In the summertime
...

[Repeat]
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Lyrics taken from /lyrics/f/fleet_foxes/white_winter_hymnal.html

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Corrected by imkatylouise

White Winter Hymnal meanings Post my meaning

  • s
    + 14
    squarepeg
    It seems to have a much more ordinary meaning to me - I picture a class of small school children, who have been watching the snow fall from the classroom. Break time arrives and, in their excitement, they all go charging out, with the narrator "following the pack". "Swallowed in their coats" refers to the small size of the children, wrapped up in their bulky winter coats with the scarves of red perhaps being part of the school uniform. The scarves are tied tightly to protect them from the cold, so tightly that it seems that they have been pulled tight to "stop their little heads from falling in the snow". "I turned around and there you go" conjures up images of the narrator, himself a young child in the song turning to throw a snowball at his friend, Michael, who falls as he tries to avoid it. As the snowball hits, Michael suffers a burst nose dripping blood onto the snow. The metaphor of "strawberries in the summertime", to me, shows that while something unpleasant has happened, the boys are having fun and Michael sees this accidental injury as part of the fun, not something to get upset about.
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  • c
    + 12
    Coffeepillow
    I think that this song is actually about the French Revolution. White is the color of the people (as well as virtue and whatnot) in France and came about during the French Revolution. The red scarf part could refer to the red ribbons that people would wear to commemorate those who died in the guillotine. Micheal (this is a stretch) could be the guillotine falling to kill King Louis xvi of France in January, which would turn the snow red with blood.
    It's possible, but that's my guess.
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  • U
    + 4
    Unregistered
    This song just always made me uncomfortable talking about heads falling off, not wanting your throat to be exposed for fear of something and the cheerful tone while explaining what is very clearly blood seeping into the snow as red as a strawberry in the summertime, combined with the happy go lucky melody it gives me chills however I think this song has a lot of little hints of the french revolution to it, I think the song being about the french revolution is something worth looking into.
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  • U
    + 4
    Unregistered
    The narrator was "following the pack" unaware and 'just being like everyone else' when the tribulation comes upon us. Michael didn't fall, but Satan did (wishful thinking on the devil's behalf). The references to scarves holding on their little heads from falling in the snow, and turning the snow as red as strawberries in the summertime is describing beheadings. How to manage pretty red strawberries in describing bloody death, is not as impressive as getting choirs upon choirs to sing (and clap) this song of persecution of the church to come, and have the gall to associate it with Christmas time, the birth of Jesus Christ, just because it references snow, and its title. I am stunned at the evil and the idiocy of people "following the pack" and enjoying this song that while they understand it is about beheadings, they just aren't sure if it is the French Revolution or the Jews, or what/why -- and they sing along anyway.
    2 replies
  • s
    + 2
    ShadowCadet
    I always thought it was two kids following a pack of wolves. It really makes sense, as they're a PACK, and they have COATS. Maybe they're not kids or they're studying behavior. It's winter, so food is obviously scarce, so they're starving. They're nipping at each other's throats for food, meaning they have "scarves" of red tied around their throats. They're eating little bits to keep themselves from "Falling in the snow" as in dying. (I will say children because that's what I think, but adults are possible.) The children are caught, and are running from the starving wolves. Micheal- well- Micheal doesn't make it. The child who's perspective turns around to look for his friend, to no avail. Micheal, caught by wolves and eaten, is the ending of the song. This song can be taken several ways, but my vision ever since I first listened, was this. If anyone else has any ideas, please tell me. :)
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  • U
    + 1
    Unregistered
    Interpretations are all over the place. The song seems to be a practice of modern art where as we look at the piece (the lyrics) we interpret it how we want. Whatever meaning you derive from it is what real and important to you. The words fit the melody? Maybe. Perhaps nothing more than that, yet the plethera (yes. Plethera) of attempts is colorful and vast. Fleet foxes just provided us the canvas, we are doing the painting, as it were. Is it intentional? I don't know.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Somewhere it is written that once we pass to the other side, we can return to visit under the guise of a bird. I'll look for you, Michael. During white winters in Michigan, I'll look out my kitchen window to observe the sea of red cardinals, the usual pack, heads bobbing up and down in the snow. Finding the seed needed to live until the warmth of summer provides the strawberries of life. Today there is a newcomer, following and falling. Hello again, Michael.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    I feel that this song is a metaphor to the path of life. When you fallow the path that to everyone else's eyes seams to be the right path people will be harmed because of it. That if you try to look back you will see all who you have hurt through the many years that you have wondered aimlessly "following the pack" and in not going your own way you have hurt others even without meaning it. I may be delving too deep but either it's a good lesson to pull from this song. And I recommend for everyone not to follow the supposed "norm" so that you don't ever hurt others in your mindless wondering. And that everyone should just follow there heart not the pack.(by an anonymous reviewer of poems and songs.)
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  • U
    - 1
    Unregistered
    I saw a q & a on Reddit, and the guy who wrote this said that Michael represented a lost friend and that
    he was going for the stark contrast between the beauty of the melody, and the lyrics. So here is my interpretation:
    I was following the pack... Trying to keep up with the crowd (and not paying attention to his actual friend). They were swallowed in their coats... Not offering him true friendship. With scarfs of red tied round their throats... So committed to their uniformity that they didn't even choose any other color. To keep their little heads... They weren't thinking. From fallin' in the snow... Like they couldn't hold their own identity. And I Turned 'round and there you go... I wasn't paying attention to Michael my actual friend. And Michael you would fall... I lost touch with my friend. And turned the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime... The stark contrast here also symbolizes the loss of a true sweet friendship.
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  • U
    - 1
    Unregistered
    Both Fleet Foxes and Pentatonix say that these lyrics are meaningless. So many people here want to make this into some gruesome thing. The first time I listened to it I was in the fast lane, and there was so much road noise that it was gibberish. So I am going back to the way I first heard it.
    I was following a pack of silly little goats, with scarves of red tied 'round their throats, to keep their little heads from freezing in the snow, I turned around and there you go, Michael lost his scarf, it lay there in the white snow, red as strawberries in the summertime.
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  • U
    - 1
    Unregistered
    Why does it have to be about war or decapitation? It could be as simple as a group of kindergartners bundled up for an outing in the snow when little Michael falls and gets a bloody nose. Our world is too gruesome on a daily basis with war and crime. Keep it simple.
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  • U
    - 2
    Unregistered
    The author of the poem may or may not have had intent with the meaning, but there is deep meaning to be found. Michael is the archangel spoken of in the New Testament who came to earth as Adam. And yes, Michael (Adam) you would fall and bring about death into the world, spilling the blood of mankind. As his descendants, we're all part of the pack, and death will come to us all because of Michael. Pentatonix' harmony in this one is just awesome!
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  • U
    - 7
    Unregistered
    According to my mom, it could have been about the jews. "i was following the pack all swallowed in their coats" the jews being lead out in winter "with scarves of red tied around their throats to keep their little heads from falling in the snow" blood is coming from their throats and they have been thro the gulliotene "i turned round and there u go" their friend is going in the line up to be executed "and michael you would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime" micheal was shot in the head, he fell and the blood is spilling on the snow.
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    Top meanings Post my meaning

    • s
      + 14
      squarepeg
      It seems to have a much more ordinary meaning to me - I picture a class of small school children,... Read more →
    • c
      + 12
      Coffeepillow
      I think that this song is actually about the French Revolution. White is the color of the people... Read more →

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