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Oranges and Lemons Day

Oranges and Lemons

Oranges and Lemons
© Denzil Green

15 March

Oranges and Lemons Day takes place every year in London, usually on the third Thursday of March [1], even when Easter or St Patrick's Day intervenes, at the Church of St Clement Danes in London.

Children who go to the nearby St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School attend a service, after which the church's bells are rung and the children are given each an orange and a lemon.

St Clement Danes Church

St Clement Danes Church, Aldwych, London.
(© User: Gryffindor (2006) / Wikimedia Commons)

Since 1919, the bells of the church have also played the melody to the song (melody and words below) 4 times a day: 9 am, noon, 3 pm and 6 pm.

The Church of St Clement Eastside makes a rival claim to be the church mentioned in the rhyme, though they do not hold an Oranges and Lemons Day.


[1] "22.03.07. Oranges and Lemons Service attended by the children from the St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School." -- St Clement Danes Guild Report. "Oranges & Lemons Magazine." Published by Friends of St Clements. Spring 2008, No. 24. Page 28.

Literature & Lore

"Oranges and Lemons," say the bells of St Clement's.
"You owe me five farthings," say the bells of St Martin's.
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey.
"When I grow rich," say the bells of Shoreditch.
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney.
"I do not know," says the great bell of Bow.


"Oranges and Lemons - The Nursery Rhyme" Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A696125 on 6 February 2009.

The Bells of St Clements. "Oranges & Lemons Magazine". Published by Friends of St Clements. Commemorative Issue 2008, No. 25. Page 32.

All March food days

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Oulton, Randal. "Oranges and Lemons Day." CooksInfo.com. Published 12 March 2004; revised 31 May 2009. Web. Accessed 06/23/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/oranges-and-lemons-day>.

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