Vita Nuova (xenmascaraditax) wrote in culturalanthro,
Vita Nuova

"Rabbit, rabbit," on the first.... (Jinx Removing by Jawbreaker)

"   What's the deal with rabbit rabbit?
You'll have good luck all month if the first words you utter on the first of the month are "rabbit rabbit." Bonus luck if it's your birth month.
If it's the first of the month and you're reading this, don't fret. Simply reverse the process as you drift off into slumber land repeating "tibbar tibbar." That's rabbit rabbit backwards."

"…the following belief is common in many parts of Great Britain, with local variants: To secure good luck of some kind, usually a present, one should say ‘Rabbits’ three times just before going to sleep on the last day of the month, and then ‘Hares’ three times on waking the next morning"
From 1922 comes this exerpt from a speech "Coming on to midnight, gentlemen, he said: ‘I hope everybody here will remember to say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’ first thing in the morning."
Hey, I thought rabbit was for night, hare was for morning! Well, we certainly can’t leave it that simple - from 1953 comes this published bit of folklore: "On the first day of the month when you wake up in the morning shout ‘White Rabbit’ and when you go to bed at night shout ‘Black Rabbit’ and you will have good luck." Aha ! - it’s the colour that counts!
From 1982: "The first words you say for a lucky month are ‘White Rabbits.’ If you can remember to say that twelve times a year, you’ll have a very lucky year.."
Notice the plural, rabbits - multiply the good luck?"

"How Old is This Thing?  More than I bet you thought! Pat in Springfield MA tells of "a girl who worked in our office at that time who practiced the tradition since the early forties".  Dayle first heard about this sweet superstition at sleep-away summer camp in Maine about 35 years ago.  Peg tells of her mother using it as a child in the late 1800's in Kentucky! Gerald dates it from England before 1918, and suspects it came over from Normandy with William I. Dick believes his father (age 86 in 2001) got it from an uncle in 1922, and the uncle caught it in the First World War."

"There are two theories surrounding the creation of good luck for the next month, the Rabbit / Rabbit / Rabbit theory and the competing White Rabbit / White Rabbit / White Rabbit Theory. Unfortunately for you, the reader, neither theory is confirmed, and only marginally explicated, by these references.  The story: This is the big controversy at the Lab, the theories are not only competing, but also mutually exclusive. Is it good luck to repeat (like a mantra) he phrase Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit as your first words on the first day of the month, or (the competing theory) is it good luck to say White Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit ... And why does anyone care?"

"Is it carnivorous (stealing others' luck) or gentle (getting better luck)?  Izzy think it sounds like transliterated Hebrew, meaning "month abundant" or more simply "(have a) great month"."

Further Research: see british folklore, normandy traditions, Ostara, etc/

So basically I've surmised that this is an ancient German custom relayed, via the UK, that's somehow been translated into US pop-folklore I've been saying this (when I remembered) since I was about 6 years old. I learned about it from Nickelodeon of all places. When I got to college, another girl on my hall freshman year did it too. I thought it was so strange that she knew about it, but in her case it was an old (Annenberg) family tradition. Eventually I decided to look it up. There really ought to be a thorough history of this somewhere. Anyone have anything to add? Does anyone else do this too?

Also, I can't think of rabbits without thinking of Watership Down. That film terrorized me as a child! Just thinking about it makes me physically uncomfortable as all I can remember was how scary it was, and yet such a conundrum for my little head because it was still a cartoon!

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