Today is the first day of March, and the phrase Rabbit! Rabbit! were the first words spoken to another person in our house. This is a British tradition that we continue today. When I was growing up, on the morning of the first day of every month, there was a slow chorus in our house, from person to person and from room to room, the word “Rabbit Rabbit” was spoken upon the first encounter and the next until we had all been granted our month’s worth of good luck by repeating back Rabbit Rabbit to seal the deal! My grandparents were the originators of the tradition, and it extended to all my aunts and uncles and cousins on my father’s side of the family.
Whenever I mentioned this custom to friends, they would usually ask me where that came from. My only answer was “from my family,” which, of course, is the short answer. Beyond that, I had no idea where Rabbit, Rabbit came from.
Townsend and I, for fun, took it to a whole other level by going through the gamut of Rabbit (Leporidae) family names. Rabbit Rabbit, Hare Hare, Pica Pica, Lagomorph Lgomorph! I’ve discovered a few friends who also indulge in this habit, But no one can explain to me why we say Rabbit Rabbit and where the tradition came from. This was just what we did. I think my father explained this tradition to me as a child, but it did not take and I did not write it down.
The origin of the custom in unknown but it can be traced back to at least the 15th century maybe even the 13th. It came from England, which makes sense since that is where my grandparents family came from. The reasons for the word Rabbit linked to a lucky rabbit’s foot. One reason for the word Rabbit Rabbit, might be that “it is jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.”
Traditions are a wonderful and I do it to honor my families’ tradition. And so I keep on. And delight when I find another soul who carries on this ancient superstition in the 21st century. And so to all, on this first day of this month, I say, “Rabbit Rabbit,” may it bring you luck.