Online Encyclopedia

CHARIVARI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 891 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARIVARI, a French term of uncertain origin, but probably onomatopoeic, for a mock serenade " rough music," made by beating on kettles, fire-irons, tea-trays or what not. The charivari was anciently in France a regular wedding custom, all bridal couples being thus serenaded. Later it was reserved for ill-assorted and unpopular marriages, for widows or widowers who remarried too soon, and generally as a mockery for all who were unpopular. At the beginning of the 17th century, wedding charivaris were forbidden by the Council of Tours under pain of excommunication, but the custom still lingers in rural districts. The French of Louisiana and Canada introduced the charivari into America, where it became known under the corrupted name of " shivaree."
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