01 August 2013

RABBIT, RABBIT, RABBIT!

"Today is the first day of a new month--RABBIT, RABBIT, RABBIT!"

Have you ever heard this expression? I was in college the first time I did.
I knew it was a superstition but had no idea how it got started. That's one of the fun things and/or curses of being a person who loves words. You can't just hear someone use an odd expression without wanting to figure out its origins. 

Well, according to Ted Nesbitt, this idiom came from England where rabbits and hares were considered bad luck. Which in itself most likely came from the very real situation of when a rabbit's quick scurry from the side of a lane would spook a horse and throw its rider, which was not a good way to start your day, especially in the days before antibiotics. Often a fall from a horse could be fatal and therefore one could consider it rather unlucky.

On the first morning of each month, one was supposed to say, "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" to ensure good luck for the entire month. Some deviations are more precise, such as to say "White rabbit" three times in the morning and "Black rabbit" at night. One version is to simply use the plural, "White rabbits" to get it over with more efficiently.  There is also the tradition in some families to greet a birthday boy or girl with "White Rabbit" to wish them a wonderful birthday month.

So "White Rabbits" to all today to save my tongue from getting twisted into convoluted knots trying to say it three times quickly. May this month be all good!

~Jude
 Both images in this post are from: http://www.arthursclipart.org/rabbits/hares    

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