Mennonite children around the globe are excited for that one day a year when they receive presents, eat chocolate, and can say the word “ass” with impunity, at least within the context of “What Child Is This?”
“Normally they’d get their mouths washed out with soap for using such language,” said Grandma Schellenberg, “but on Christmas Day we make an exception.”
‘What Child Is This?’ has become a favourite among Mennonites, both young and old, for this very reason.
“Why lies he in such mean estate? Where ox and ass are feeding,'” repeated Schellenberg. “I’m sure hoping the children confine such language to the song…not like last year.”
At last year’s Schellenberg gathering, things got a little out of control, and the grandchildren were calling each other “oxen” and “asses” throughout the afternoon.
“I’m afraid this song has been a very bad influence,” said Schellenberg. “Their language needs to improve and pronto! I’m even thinking of returning the rap albums I got them for Christmas.”
Things got so crazy, that the children even started calling Uncle Pieta an “ass,” though no one at the gathering bothered to correct them.