Snapdragon - Have Fun Get Burnt - DBH1 The Web Site 2020

Go to content

Snapdragon - Have Fun Get Burnt

Snapdragon - Have Fun - Get Burnt

I have a Victorian Book of Days from which I quote the game of Snapdragon. It is interesting that the only image of Snapdragon seems to be the one in the book which  is here.


"One favourite Christmas sport, very generally played on Christmas Eve, has been handed down to us from time immemorial under the name of Snapdragon. To our English readers this amusement is perfectly familiar, but it is almost unknown in Scotland, and it seems therefore desirable here to give a description of the pastime.

A quantity of raisins are deposited in a large dish or bowl (the broader and shallower this is, the better), and brandy or some other spirit is poured over the fruit and ignited. The bystanders now endeavour, by turns, to grasp a raisin, by plunging their hands through the flames; and as this is somewhat of an arduous feat, requiring both courage and rapidity of action, a considerable amount of laughter and merriment is evoked at the expense of the unsuccessful competitors.

As an appropriate accompaniment we introduce here the song of the Snapdragon.

Here he comes with flaming bowl,
Don't be mean to take his toll,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Take care you don't take too much,
Be not greedy in your clutch,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

With his blue and lapping tongue
Many of you will be stung,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

For he snaps at all that comes
Snatching at his feast of plums
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

But Old Christmas makes him come,
Though he looks so fee! fa! fum!
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Don't 'ee fear him, be but bold
Out he goes, his flames are cold
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Whilst the sport of Snapdragon is going on, it is usual to extinguish all the lights in the room, so that the lurid glare from the flaming spirits may exercise to the full its weird-like effect. There seems little doubt that in this amusement we retain a trace of the fiery ordeal of the middle ages, and also of the Druidical fire-worship of a still remoter epoch.  

Back to content