(photo credit: Two Rabbits/Zwei Kaninchen by Robobobobo on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
Early this morning, I was talking to Robin in her kitchen on Cape Cod, when suddenly she stopped and said, “I can’t believe I didn’t say ‘Rabbit, rabbit’ this morning.”
She sounded both mildly distressed and amused.
I was amused and confused.
She explained that people say that if you say “Rabbit, rabbit” out loud before you say anything else on the first day of every month you will be lucky all month.
I laughed. People say that? What people? No people ever said that to me.
She went on to say that she says it the first of every month and has for as long as she can remember. But when I asked why those words would bring one luck, she said she thought it had something to do with rabbits being good luck but beyond that, she didn’t really know the origins of the practice.
According to Wikipedia:
“[It] is a common British superstition. . . The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909. . . The superstition may be 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.”
But why is it lucky? I did a little research and found that every description of the superstition managed to avoid answering how it came about and why it was lucky.
However, I did learn from an NPR interview with Martha Barnette, the host of the public radio show, A Way With Words, that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an aficionado of this practice.
“He was known to carry a rabbit’s foot during the 1932 election. We still have that rabbit’s foot in a museum. And supposedly, he also said rabbit, rabbit at the beginning of every month.”
She also claimed that “Gilda Radner was known to say bunny, bunny on the first day of the month; to ensure, as she put it, laughter, love and peace.”
After explaining that some people say variations on the phrase like “white rabbit,” she shared my favorite piece of information related to this whole thing:
“If you forget, at the end of the day, you can say black rabbit right before you can go to sleep; or you can say tibbar, tibbar. . . it’s rabbit spelled backwards.”
So as the first day of August ends and I am about to head up to sleep, I say aloud, “Tibbar, tibbar.”
And just to assure a month of good luck, I say one more thing: “Black rabbit.”
On a final note, I’ve started a new practice: If a person (say me) says “Rabbit, rabbit” at the beginning of the day or “tibbar, tibbar” at the end of the day, that person’s words will bring a month of good fortune to not only her but to everybody who reads her blog.
Here’s to our shared good fortune!
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