Hakka Nursery Rhymes


A Hakka nursery rhyme is not a song and there is no music sheet. It is a group of rhymed words (the rhyme can be changed) with rhythmic beauty, tonal changes and an interesting storyline. Originally it was merely the language material for recitation and the storyline therefore did not have to be true or reasonable. Hakka forebears often made up nursery rhymes with common things and events to teach children to sing and train them to become used to rhyming unknowingly and set the basics for poetry writing.

A line in a nursery rhyme is usually no more than three to five characters to make it easier for passing around and remembering. Every two lines are often connected by rhyme or meaning. The number of words in each line is not necessarily the same but the rich content and high literariness make nursery rhymes excellent materials in beginning education of children. Hakka nursery rhymes used to spread widely among Hakka people but through social changes they have been gradually ignored and forgotten. Some of the older ones are quite different in content today.