How children sing “Popcorn Popping” in Israel

A friend who lived in Israel for a time said that the Primary children sing the beloved song “Popcorn Popping” (Children’s Songbook, 242 a little differently. There aren’t many apricot trees in Israel, but there are a LOT of date trees. And yes, in spring, date blossoms do look like popcorn glued onto tree branches, the same as apricot blossoms. My friend says that this is the way the children in Israel sing it:

"Popcorn Trees"

I looked out the window and what did I see?
Dates are popping on the date palm tree.

Israel has brought me such a nice surprise,
Dates are popping right before my eyes.
I could take an armful and throw them in the sea;
A great big wave would bring them back to me.
It wasn’t really so, but it seemed to be
Dates are swimming in the Sea of Galilee.

Children may ask “what are dates?” You might want to be ready with a bag to show them.dates cropped

If you have time, you could talk about what else happened in the Sea of Galilee: when Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:24-27), or called His disciples (Matthew 4:18-19).

FYI: In Israel, when they sing “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains” (Hymns, 212), they notice that those plains of Judea are not far far away at all. Instead, I’m told that they sing “Near, Near at Hand on Judea’s Plains.”

I love our worldwide church family with common songs and sometimes interesting ways to sing them.

To our blog readers in Israel and Palestine: is this still the way the children sing it? Does anyone else know of any other countries that adapt this song to their local trees?


Tree photo courtesy of



Filed under Music

2 responses to “How children sing “Popcorn Popping” in Israel

  1. Pingback: Spring means Popcorn Popping – Even in Israel! | Primary in Zion

  2. Pingback: um . . . who else is here? | Primary in Zion

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