and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
It is often recited as the four "somethings", not including the sixpence. The rhyme appears to originate in England, an 1898 compilation of English folklore reciting that:
In this country an old couplet directs that the bride shall wear:— "Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue." "The something blue" takes, I am given to understand, usually the form of a garter, an article of dress which plays an important part in some wedding rites, as, for instance, in the old custom of plucking off the garter of the bride. "The something old" and "something blue" are devices to baffle the Evil Eye. The usual effect on the bride of the Evil Eye is to render her barren, and this is obviated by wearing "something borrowed", which should properly be the undergarment of some woman who has been blessed with children: the clothes communicate fertility to the bride.
Another compilation of the era frames this poem as "a Lancashire version", as contrast against a Leicestershire recitation that "a bride on her wedding day should wear—'Something new, Something blue, Something borrowed'...", and so omits the "something old". The authors note that this counters other regional folklore warning against the wearing of blue on the wedding day, but relates the use of the color to phrases like "true blue" which make positive associations with the color.
The rhyme can earlier be found in an 1876 edition of Notes and Queries, and is called an "ancient custom" in another 1876 book, Bye-gones, Relating to Wales and the Border Counties. This version is referenced as well in an 1871 short story, "Marriage Superstitions, and the Miseries of a Bride Elect", in The St. James's Magazine.
In popular culture
In the Friends episode "The One in Vegas", Monica says to Chandler she needs 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' so they can get married. They got a new, blue sweater stolen from the shop (borrowed) and Chandler's old condom. In a later episode when Phoebe gets married in the episode, "The One With Phoebe's Wedding", when Phoebe decides not to wear her coat while getting married outside in the snow, she said that "I can be my something blue", suggesting that she might go blue with coldness.
The final two episodes of Season 2 of How I Met Your Mother are titled "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue" in reference to the wedding occurring between the characters Marshall and Lily on the show. The final two episodes of Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother are titled "Something Old" and "Something New" in reference to the wedding occurring between the characters Barney and Robin on the show.
In the Doctor Who episode "The Big Bang", the Doctor connects the four elements to his TARDIS, which is "borrowed", and "brand new and ancient, and the bluest blue ever". In the same episode at Amy Pond's wedding, she recites this saying to help remember the Doctor (excluding the line "And a silver sixpence in her shoe"), who had previously been erased from time. As she finishes her speech, wind begins blowing in the hall and several seconds later the TARDIS starts materializing right in the middle of it, and the Doctor—not imaginary, but flesh and blood—steps outside into the hall.
- Something old, something new (disambiguation)
- Something New (disambiguation)
- Something Borrowed (disambiguation)
- Something Blue (disambiguation)
- Old New Borrowed Blue
- Ask, Yahoo!, archived from the original on February 7, 2013
- Jacobs, Joseph; Nutt, Alfred Trübner; Wright, Arthur Robinson (1898), Folklore, Folklore Society of Great Britain, p. 128.
- Firminger, Thomas; Dyer, Thiselton (1905), Folk-lore of women as illustrated by legendary and traditionary tales, p. 45.
- White, William (1876), Notes and Queries, p. 408.
- Bye-gones, Relating to Wales and the Border Counties 3, 1876, p. 136.
- "Marriage Superstitions, and the Miseries of a Bride Elect", The St. James's Magazine 28, 1871: 549.