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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Levin

Behind the Music: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Just for fun, I thought I would research the Kindermusik song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" before teaching it in my one's and two's class this week. Specifically, I wanted to find out what doodles were and to figure out why Yankee called the feather in his cap "macaroni".

As it turns out, Yankee Doodle originated as a British song that trolled Americans, calling us "doodles" as an insult to our intelligence. (A "doodle" is a simpleton.) The reason Yankee Doodle calls the feather in his cap "macaroni" is best explained by the video below:

In other words, the British described their American foes as not only simpletons, but pretentious simpletons. What a burn!

At the Battle of Yorktown (#hamilton), however, the Americans had the last laugh. The Marquis de Lafayette (#lafayette!) had his musicians play the song to taunt the British after their surrender, and to this day, the song is considered both a defiant celebration of the Americans' victory over the British and - as far as your child is concerned - a silly song celebrating their favorite dinner dish: macaroni.


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