While at work this past Monday (New Year's Eve Day) the topic of the superstition of saying "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" on the first day of the New Year to insure good luck throughout the rest of the year came up. One of the nurses that called to schedule a patient's transport out of the hospital mentioned it to one of the schedulers I work with and she mentioned it to the rest of us.
Jen said she had never heard of this particular superstition; I said that I recalled hearing about it but thought that it applied to the first day of any month and not just the first day of the New Year. Problem is - I have never been able to remember to say it so I'm not sure whether it brings good luck or not!
For those who are not familiar with the "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" superstition - it's a piece of folklore with an unknown origin and is related to the broader belief of carrying a rabbit's foot for good luck - which, of course, is never lucky for the rabbit itself! There is some belief that this superstition initiated in England during the 1200's though it didn't appear in print until 1420. No matter when it originated, it's been around for a long, long time and has naturally taken on several different incarnations.
Around 1920, one of the earliest referenced usages was to say “rabbits” three times before going to sleep the last night of the month and then “hares” three times first thing upon waking; a few years later, it was simply three “rabbits” in the morning with no “hares” at all.
Another incarnation is believing that the effect is stronger on one's month of birth or making “rabbit, rabbit” be the last words said on the last of the month and the first words said on the first of the month
Traditions also extend to saying on the first of each month: “A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month; white rabbit!” Upon saying it, you naturally pinch and punch the person you said it to but if you omit the "white rabbit" part, the recipient may counteract by saying "A flick and a kick for being so quick" and then give you the same.
I guess there's no particular right or wrong way when it comes to superstitions, especially ones with no set-in-stone documentation, and I guess there's also no harm in participating in them either as long as they're simple little superstitions like this one. The trick is just remembering to do them! As I said, my problem has always been that I just don't remember in time.
When I woke up on Tuesday morning one of the first things I thought of (other than "why am I waking up so early when I stayed up way too late with the girls??") was our talk at work about "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" so I spoke the words aloud to my empty bedroom. Hopefully saying it out loud just to myself as the first words spoken for the day fits at least one of the variations as I could really use some good luck! I'll have to keep you posted as to how things transpire for 2008!
So, anyone else had any experiences with "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" or maybe the variation of "moose, moose" on the second day of the month when you forgot to say "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" on the first day? Or perhaps you know of another incarnation of this one? Superstitious minds wanna know!
*"Bunneh" artwork by Amanda