Add Explanation
Add Meaning
New! Read & write lyrics explanations
  • Click the blue-colored lyrics to read explanations.
  • Highlight lyrics and explain them to earn Karma points.
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


Lyrics taken from

  • Email
  • Correct
Corrected byimkatylouise

songmeaningsPost my meaning

  • s
    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.
    Add your reply
  • c
    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.
    Add your reply
  • s
    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. :)
    Add your reply
  • u
    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
  • u
    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.
    Add your reply

    Write about your feelings and thoughts

    Know what this song is about? Does it mean anything special hidden between the lines to you? Share your meaning with community, make it interesting and valuable. Make sure you've read our simple tips.
    Min 50 words
    Not bad
    This page is missing some information about the song. Please expand it to include this information. You can help by uploading artist's image or adding song structure elements.