(NEXSTAR) – “We’ll pretend that he is Parson Brown” is likely a lyric you have sung once or twice in your life. But really, who is Parson Brown?
If you aren’t familiar, the above lyrics are a line from the classic song ‘Winter Wonderland’ heard on the radio and during childrens’ holiday concerts in November and December annually. The song was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard Bernhard Smith, and originally sung by Richard Himber.
Nearly nine decades later, many wonder the same question each year: Who is Parson Brown?
To understand, it is important to note that while the song is largely popular during Christmas time, it never actually mentions Christmas. Instead, the song is about marriage and romance during winter. The couple in the song builds a snowman in a meadow and pretends it is Parson Brown, who asks if they are married. The couple says they are not, but Parson Brown can wed them when he is in town.
Parson is actually another word for a clergyman, especially a Protestant pastor, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The word has gone largely unused since around 1980 but has been on a decline since 1800.
Whether you prefer Bing Crosby or Michael Buble, Tony Bennett or the Pentatonix, or any other artist performing ‘Winter Wonderland’ this season, you no longer need to wonder about the snowman named Parson Brown.