Been researching something today around national identities and tripped over some nice stuff about national anthems: the song we get to sing together when we get together to remind us all that we are a group…
Seems they started gaining in popularity in Europe in the 19th C with the rise of the Nation State.
Typically, they invoke curses on enemies and glory and all things wonderful for our "team". As the little known (or sung) 2nd and 3rd versions of the UK one does so cutely (damn, your knavish tricks…):
"O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save The Queen."
The content and style varies (but not that much from hymn or march stylee).
Mostly they're just songs for us to sing together - something to do together anyone, with branded merchandise/flags?.
And of course they spread by copying both within a group or a nation and beyond -
the idea and style of the national anthem seems to be something we Brits seem to have taught the world.
Just like football or rugby songs. Or anything you and your mates choose to sing along to.
Am off to a College gaudy on Saturday – wonder if we'll end up singing the college song?
As JR put it, "We Mean It, Man…"