The Wedding Dress Song

By Ann Rabinowitz
October 31, 2010

Something’s been troubling me. It is a refrain my mother used to sing when I was a child. I am puzzled by this song as I know it is about a wedding dress, but I cannot find its origin or the meaning of its words. I’ve looked far and wide and found similar sounding songs, but it is the wrong tune or the wrong lyrics.

What to do? Perhaps someone will remember it. What I know is that in 1928, my mother became engaged to a fellow in Leeds and it was in the bosom of his family that she learned this song. The words, as I transliterated them from the Yiddish, were as follows:

Chupe Kleidel (sung to the tune of “Whispering”)

Oy dost chupe, chupe kleidel
Vost kenman machen
Firna maidel.

Alle nacht geit zee tansen
Bis zee firspeil a nadan
In ganson.

Kayna, kayna kenisht visson
Vivfila a hartson
Vayryn sarisson.

Bis zee chupe, chupe kleidel
Oy dost a chupe moit.

So, there it is the mystery song. I’d love to know its identity!

Many researchers have these kinds of questions about songs, stories, fables or other things which their parents or grandparents have bequeathed to them as part of their heritage. In the weeks to come, I will delve further in these fascinating areas of family research.


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