rattle band n Also rattle-banding chiefly se, csPA, nw, cnMD, nVA Note: Despite the similarity of this region to that of bull band n, there is little overlap. Analysis of newspaper exx (not all of which are presented below) shows rattle band occuring almost exclusively in an area roughly bounded by Adams and Lancaster Cos. PA and Loudoun Co. VA; all exx of bull band are north or west of this area. old-fash Cf Dutch band n, kettle band n 1
A group of people gathered to create a noisy racket, usu as a mock serenade for a recently married couple; an occasion on which such a serenade is given, shivaree n B1; hence v rattle-band to engage in this activity; to serenade (one) in this way; vbl n rattle-banding.
1877 Sun (Baltimore MD) 16 Nov 1/3, On Thursday last Jos. B. Mann, of Loudoun county, Va., was married . . , and returned that evening with his bride to his mother’s residence, near Lovettsville. On Friday evening a club of young men in the neighborhood, composing what is called the “Rattle Band,” proceeded to serenade the couple by the use of tin horns, bells, and such other instruments as are calculated to make night hideous. 1878 Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (MA) 8 June /1, Norris Chamberlain and Mrs. Emeline W. Blackmer of Pelham, who are under bonds of $800 for trial for unlawfully cohabiting for the last 12 years, were married by Town Clerk A. C. Keith. . . A “rattle band” of some 40 serenaded the couple the same evening, and were regaled on lemonade and bread and cheese. 1891 York Daily (PA) 3 Sept /4, On Saturday evening the half grown boys of town played a rattle band for one of the newly married couple [sic], and the boys were treated so well. As quick as lightning one of the boys came running down street screaming: ‘[‘]Saperment, fowler awyer, fowler grumbeers.” [=“Heavens, rotten eggs, rotten potatoes.”] 1903 Sun (Baltimore MD) 12 Nov 6/7, A Serenade was given to Mr. William Byerly last night . . in honor of his recent election as Democratic judge of the Orphan’s court. . . About 150 persons were present and after the noisy performance of a rattle band and a short address by the Judge-elect all were invited to partake of refreshments. 1905 Adams Co. Independent (Littlestown PA) 4 Mar 2/1, To complete the event [=a wedding] the calithumpian band of Germany township put in a timely appearance to rattle-band the happy crowd. In no time Mrs. Feeser [=the bride’s mother] so filled them with delicacies and substantials that they became so content as to forget to rattle-band any more. 1925 Gettysburg Times (PA) 22 Aug 4/1, Miss Lillie Thoman . . and Rino Wolfe . . , who were married Saturday . . , were given a rattle band Monday evening by 72 friends. A treat at Smith’s cafe followed. 1929 Scranton Republican (PA) 29 Oct /1, Hallowe’en festivities in the downtown section of this city [=York PA] indirectly caused the death of 5-year-old Dorothy Hoffnagle tonight. . . A rattle band attracted the child’s attention and she . . darted across the street toward it. 1946 News Comet (East Berlin PA)17 May 2/4, The young people of the town [=Abbottstown] held an old fashioned rattle band serenade for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Griffie who were recently married. . . The band members were treated to soda and ice cream. 1970 Eve. Sun (Hanover PA) 8 May 3/2, Newlyweds Feted At Surprise Party—A surprise party and rattle band was held in honor of Pfc. and Mrs. Ronald E. Yingling recently at the home of his parents. 1993 AmSp 68.220 PA, An item whose regional variants have been recognized and described for many years is the term for a ‘noisy celebration given to a newly married couple by the neighbors where the couple is supposed to give a treat’. . . My own research into the dialect of south east-central Pennsylvania has led me to the discovery of still another living variant—rattle band(ing). 2018 DARE File—Internet neVA (as of 1930s), Rattle banding and snipe hunting were other examples of this tolerance. Newly weds were regularly harassed on their wedding night. It was a great game to locate where they would spend that night, get together a group of people, and serenade them with wash tubs, drums and anything that would make a racket. The noise did not cease until they appeared and provided food for all present.