There was a young fellow named Lear
Who invented Limericks, we hear,
so now we converse
in humorous verse
on National Limerick Day every year
Limericks were named after the Irish city of Limerick, and although limericks were not in fact created by Edward Lear, it was he who popularised them, bringing the love of limericks to the masses. Limericks could potentially date back as far as 500 years, however it is currently unknown when the very first limerick was created, and whether it was created purposely or by a happy accident.
The distinctive sound of a limerick which uses a special metre and AABBA rhyming scheme are ideal for the creation of nonsense verses, which is why many limericks tend to have a childish or even obscene tone to them, ensuring that they pack a humorous punch. The best limericks tend to be both hilariously childish and somewhat obscene.
History of National Limerick Day
Each year on May 12th, National Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of famous English artist, illustrator, and much-loved author and poet, Edward Lear. This multifaceted artist was born on May 12th 1812 and lived until January 29th 1888 and lived a long and vibrant life, making a significant contribution to the art world.
National Limerick Day occurs on the birthday of Edward Lear to celebrate the incredible works he created during his life, including his many whimsical limericks. However, Edward Lear was also known for his prose and poetry, among other areas of the arts.
Edward Lear is primarily famed for his literary artistry in poetry, prose, and fittingly as the day is named, limericks. National Limerick Day focuses on celebrating limerick poems, which were popularized by Edward Lear’s famous book of poems named ‘Book of Nonsense’ which was published in 1846, when he was 34-years-old.
What is National Limerick Day all about? It’s about appreciating beautifully written English poetry from one of the world’s most notable poets. It’s also about bringing a little ‘silliness’ into your life through the written word. National Limerick Day offers the ideal opportunity to bring a little literary humor to your life through the art of limerick writing.
What is a limerick?
A limerick is a special type of poem that is short, packed full of humor, and is made up of ‘nonsense’; a limerick is meant to be funny. A limerick is made up of five lines. The first two of the five lines must rhyme with the fifth line, whilst the third and fourth lines of the limerick should rhyme together. Another unique feature regarding a limerick is that it should have a particular rhythm – this rhythm is described as being an ‘anapestic trimeter’.
Limericks are renowned for the humor and fun they bring to traditional poetry; incorporating a number of interesting and nonsensical themes. A limerick can be whatever the writer wants it to be; the point of writing a limerick is to incorporate humor into the piece and have a little fun with words.
Limericks are meant to be instantly recognisable from the rhythm that the verses create, limericks are carefully constructed to create humor and bring laughter.
One of Edward Lear’s most famous Limericks is ‘There was a Young Lady’ – the limerick goes like this:
‘There was a Young Lady whose chin
Resembed the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp, and
purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.’
Or, how about this one?
‘There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’’
How to celebrate National Limerick Day
A great way to celebrate this monumental day from English literature is to spend some time learning more about limericks and poetry in general. A fantastic way to mark this incredible day dedicated to Edward Lear and his incredible works, is to sit down and write a few limericks of your own.
You can also opt to share your limerick creations onto social media as part of the celebrations to mark National Limerick Day. Using the hashtag #LimerickDay, you can join in the community of limerick lovers on social media and learn more about limericks and poetry in general.
National Limerick Day is the ideal opportunity to encourage children to become more interested in poetry, as it brings humor and fun to a topic that many children can often find dull and boring and struggle to understand.
The style of a limerick can work as a simple introduction to poetry to children and young people, with National Limerick Day helping schools to teach children how to create poetry and to learn to enjoy reading poetry. Many schools celebrate National Limerick Day with workshops and classes focused on poetry and limerick writing, as well as offering students the opportunity to experience performances of limericks by professional poets.
Did you know that many people choose to celebrate National Limerick Day by purchasing a copy of Edward Lear’s famous 1846 opus ‘A Book of Nonsense’ and then spending the day reading, reciting and having fun with all of his incredible limericks? Many people choose to perform these hilarious limericks to friends, family, and even colleagues to mark and celebrate National Limerick Day in style.
For anyone who is passionate about the written word and loves to spend time creating their own pieces of unique artistic works, National Limerick Day is an ideal excuse to put pen to paper and create a number of new, humorous pieces of content, perfect for sharing with friends and family.
If you need limerick writing inspiration, there are plenty of online resources that can help to make creating limericks somewhat easier and more enjoyable, and are perfect for utilizing as part of your National Limerick Day celebrations this year. There are lots of examples online that you can find to work from, as well as plenty of sites that show you exactly how to draft a limerick that is both funny and wonderfully obscene.
This year spend National Limerick Day getting creative, making up your own fun limericks that reflect your life and experiences!