Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Did You say "Rabbit rabbit"?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Rabbit rabbit” is a common superstition, held particularly among children. The most common modern version states that a person should say “rabbit, rabbit” upon waking on the first day of each new month, and on doing so will receive good luck for the remainder of that month.
Origins and history
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it has appeared in print at least as early as 1920 in England, where it is most commonly said to have originated, though some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s. Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. The superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a “lucky” animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit's foot for luck.
As with most folklore, which is traditionally spread by word of mouth, there are numerous variant versions of the “rabbit, rabbit” superstition, in some cases specific to a certain time period or region. There are hundreds of variants, some of the most common of which include:
* The inverse: instead of believing that saying it will bring good luck, believing that not saying it will bring bad luck.
* Instead of saying “rabbit, rabbit”, saying just “rabbit”, or “rabbits”. Some also extend it to three rabbits: “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” which has some of the earliest written references.
* The earliest referenced usage may be to saying “rabbits” three times before going to sleep the last night of the month, and then “hares” three times first thing upon waking, though just two years later, it was three “rabbits” in the morning with no “hares” at all.
* Using the night of the new moon (traditionally the first day of the lunar month) instead of the first night of the month.
* Saying “black rabbits” the night before, and “white rabbits” on the morning in question.
* Believing that the effect is stronger on one's month of birth.
* Referring to the first day of each month as “Rabbit Day”.
* Various ways to counteract forgetting to say it, most commonly saying it backwards (“tibbar, tibbar”) before falling asleep.
* A different but related practice of saying “Happy White Rabbit's Day” to someone in order to bring good luck.
* 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.
* One variation involves an element of competition: Saying “rabbit, rabbit” to another person on the first of the month entitles the speaker to the luck of the listener for the duration 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!” White rabbit is declared to be the “no returns” policy on the “pinch and the punch” the receiver felt. Origins of this saying is unknown.
* A more modern variation is to say “rabbit, rabbit” to someone on the first day of the month, and whoever says it first wins. The idea of luck is not involved.