Swedish Nursery Rhyme – Rida Rida Ranka

Posted on 06. Feb, 2013 by in Culture

As I’ve written before, I sometimes do fieldwork in the United States, interviewing and talking with Scandinavian Americans. It’s a great experience and I get a chance to meet a lot of wonderful people and hear some amazing stories. One thing that has popped up a couple of times is an old nursery rhyme that a lot of people remember from their childhood. In fact, I remember it from mine also!

It’s called Rida Rida Ranka and has quite a few different variations. Rida Rida Ranka means to ride on a rocking horse or to ride on someone’s knees. Usually this little rhyme is said while bouncing a child on one’s knees. I’ve included a couple of versions below:

Rida rida Ranka
hästen heter Blanka
Vart ska vi rida?
Till en liten piga
Vad kan hon heta?
Jungfru Margareta
den tjocka och den feta

Here is a very rough translation, minus the rhyming.

Ride, ride a rocking horse
The horse’s name is Blanka.
Where shall we ride?
To a little girl.
What is her name?
The Virgin Margareta
The chubby and the fat one

Or:

Rida, rida ranka,
hästen heter Blanka.
Liten riddare så rar
ännu inga sporrar har.
När han dem har vunnit,
barndomsro försvunnit.

And again, a very rough translation:

Ride, ride a rocking horse
The horse’s name is Blanka.
Cute little knight
You have no spurs yet.
When you have won them
Your childhood will disappear

I’ve also included a really great YouTube clip with the nursery rhyme:

YouTube Preview Image

For a few more versions, check out Rida rida ranka. Enjoy!

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6 Responses to “Swedish Nursery Rhyme – Rida Rida Ranka”

  1. Lois Lund Scorgie 6 February 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Your blog about Rida rida ranka was sent to me by me friend who’s 100%Swedish. I’m 50% Swedish and 50% Norwegian. I remember my mother reciting the poem to me when I was young. I think the version she said was the first one. I can’t speak Swedish. She could. What I remember bestis the rhythm of the words

    I grew up in Western Wisconsin and am 65.

    Thanks for the good memory.

  2. Anna Sokol 7 February 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Very sweet! We have this type of song in Russia, too. Interesting how many nationalities ride their children on knees singing?)

  3. Marcus Cederström 4 August 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Glad to hear it everyone

  4. Ben Tupper 30 July 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    My mother used to rock me with a slightly different version, which I passed on to my girls when they were little, and they have passed on to their children. (I never learned Swedish, so I don’t know if this is all spelled right,)

    Rida, rida ranka,
    hästen heter Blanka.
    Ne hon heter inte så
    Hästen heter apel grå

    Then she would throw me up in the air and catch me. My girls begged eagerly for the toss at the end.

    When I was living in Germany, my friends taught me to do:

    Hoppe hoppe Reiter
    wenn er fällt, dann schreit er,
    fällt er in den Graben,
    fressen ihn die Raben.
    fällt er in den Sumpf,
    macht der Reiter… Plumpf!

    With a huge crash down between the knees with howls of laughter.

    I think rhyming children’s games like this must be universal around the world.

  5. Marcus Cederström 5 October 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Very cool, thanks for that!


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