Thursday, January 1, 2009

Starting the new year right...with a little superstition


Some of you who have read me for a while know that I say that on the first of the month. I don't always put it in a blog entry, but I always say it at some point on the first. Chick on the Bob and Tom Show says it, and that's where I picked it up. I've been meaning to find out a little more about it and write an entry, and it seems like the first day of the new year is a good day to do so. (A while back, a reader--I think it was Estela--found a few bits of information about it, but I neglected to save her email. Sorry, Estela!)

The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it has allegedly appeared in print at least as early as 1920 in England. Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, and is related to the widely held belief that rabbits are a "lucky" animal (think of carrying a rabbit's foot for good luck).

Blog forum posts range from hearing this in the early forties from a coworker, to hearing it from their uncle who served in World War I, to their mother using it as a child in Kentucky in the late 1800's. Most accounts trace the saying to England. Maybe some of my British friends can weigh in on this. Are you familiar with this custom?

There are multiple variations:

It is believed that saying "Rabbit Rabbit" on the first day of the New Year will bring yearlong good luck, and the converse: believing that not saying it will bring bad luck.

Being the first to say "rabbit rabbit" to a person on the first of the month will bring good luck. Once someone says rabbit rabbit to you, you are no longer allowed to repeat it to anyone, and you will have bad luck for the month.

Although some of the earliest written references using "rabbit rabbit rabbit," other versions repeat it only twice, or saying just "rabbit" or "rabbits."

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, but accounts from just two years later report it was three "rabbits" in the morning with no "hares" at all.

Another variation is "bunny bunny hop hop."

Saying "black rabbits" the night before, and "white rabbits" following morning.

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 or saying "Moose Moose" upon waking on the second day of the month.

A different but related practice of saying "Happy White Rabbit's Day" to someone in order to bring good luck.

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. 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.

Saying "White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits."

Saying "white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit" as the first words of the month, before getting out of bed -- and the speaker must first reverse position, so that speaker's head is at the foot of the bed and vice versa.

Around 1920 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.

Another variation brought about by the Polish is the phrase "Bunny, Bunny."

In the early 1990s, Nickelodeon had a segment called "Nick days," which had an event for every day of the year. The first of every month was "Rabbit Rabbit Day." According to the segment, the phrase "rabbit rabbit" must be the first thing said to the first person you see.

In some areas of the Southern United States, e.g., Tennessee and Mississippi, campers will say "I hate white rabbits" in response to campfire smoke blowing into their face, hoping the smoke will go elsewhere.

At least I know I'm not crazy for saying it--it really is a common superstition in many countries. I'm not really a superstitious person, and it's just kind of a fun and silly thing to do. But just in case, I made this entry early enough so that you still have time to say "Rabbit rabbit rabbit!" and bring yourself some good luck for the coming year!

As for last night, I hope everyone had a safe and fun celebration. The Havarti-Cheddar fondue turned out great (it had sun-dried tomatoes and green onions in it for some extra flavor) and I loved our new fondue pot for cooking beef! Ken made the dipping sauces, and although all were good, my favorite was the honey mustard. Next time I'd like to try a soy-ginger sauce. We couldn't even eat everything I'd set out, and we were both so stuffed we didn't have room for the fruits dipped in chocolate! That might be tonight's meal--along with the champagne we also didn't get to last night! After we cleaned off the table, we curled up on the couch (Sheeba included), and watched the countdown. We (all three of us) then proceeded to fall asleep. We're a bunch of firecrackers here at Nutwood, make no mistake about it! At least we made it to midnight--when I was working, I rarely did.

Today we're going to take down the tree, since we're leaving on Sunday. We'll get that taken care of so we don't have to worry about it when we get back. Perhaps more later!


Rabbit rabbit. (2008, November 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:13, January 1, 2009, from


  1. I will go with the luck for the month bit. My first eleven days are already awesome since I am not working :o) Perhaps the luck will extend to the tables in Vegas Baby!

  2. Hi Beth
    I clean forgot to say Rbbits this morning..I ALWAYS do...must have been up and about to early was up by 6.45am. So thanks for the reminder have said it now...although I always heard that if you didn't say it as soon as you got up it wasn't effective !!!!However as it is also my birthday month maybe I should say it twice over !!
    Hope you have a wonderful time away will be waiting with great expectations to see what you have both been up to.
    (Another tradition has been re enacted here at my house today... a Scottish one...wE ALWAYS have friends or family for the first meal of the was my turn so Home Made Steak pie was on the menu as always... all enjoyed it...

    Much LOve Syil xx

  3. Yes we all say rabbits on the first of the month in our Family too, I put it on my journal once and got mixed reaction some said they always say it too and others hadnt heard of it ...A Very Happy New Year Love Jan xx

  4. I don't practice any superstitions. We are having the traditional cabbage and black eyed peas today. But I put absolutely no stock in the ability of the meal to bring luck or money.

    All the best to you and yours this year!

  5. Rabbit Rabbit! and I hate white rabbits when I'm camping too. Good Luck to you in the New Year.
    'On Ya'-ma

  6. Rabbit Rabbit! Your fondue sounds great! We will be right over to help finish it up. LOL

  7. rabbit to the nth power baby to you for good luck in the new year and beyond.

    this is a cool thing. i will go read that wiki later.

    happy new year,


  8. Never heard the superstition but I'm, not one to take chances to "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit"! Hope youre rabbits bring you great luck in Vegas, and I hope you're taking the laptop so you'll be able to keep us posted!

  9. Sounds as if saying it several different ways means about the same thing. I did catch myself saying rabbit, rabbit, rabbit just now LOL. We did have those greens and blackeyed peas for lunch though. Have a fun and safe trip. Hugs, Helen

  10. I've never heard of the rabbit rabbit thing until reading you. I say rabbit everyday since I have two of them, wonder if that counts.

    Sounds like you guys had a good night. Mmmmmm, I haven't had fondu in years & years. Everyone here went to bed around ten except me & Buddy. I told him he was my date & I kissed him at midnite! LOL.

    Happy 2009.

  11. Hi Beth,
    Hmmm ... well, I guess saying "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit" is luckier, and less messy, than carrying around a rabbit's foot. For the rabbit, that is! Happy New Year!

  12. "Coniglio, coniglio, coniglio" - it does not sound the same in Italian, but I say it anyway as I really need a bit of luck this year! Happy New Year to you as well. All the best. Ciao. Antonella

  13. Have you ever looked at a word so much that it starts to look odd?
    "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!"
    Now it's your job to remind me every month, cuz I know I'll forget. I do remember hearing that it's supposed to be the first thing you say when you get up on the first day of the month, but that's all I remember. I was never very superstitious. Maybe I should change that!

    Happy New Year to you and Ken! Leigh

  14. May all those rabbits bring you a happy and healthy 2009. Glad you had such a nice evening!

  15. I was minutes away from a cart party in howling 17 degree weather at midnight so i have to say it was the worst NYE of my life. I have never had fondue before. Glad you two had a nice one! XO

  16. Hi beth... I had never heard of the Rabbit superstitions before. Interesting. I did have a traditional New Year's Day dinner today: pork loin (not hog jowls), black eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread. It was tasty, but I wondered how it was traditional New Year's Day when it seems very much like a traditional every day kind of southern dinner. I'd have to search that one. Just curious about it though! Happy New Year!

  17. Interesting post I've never heard of it before, should have read this

    Glad New Years was good for I just about made the countdown too, you fondue sounded good and soy and Ginger dipping sauce is very good.


  18. mum always says,"white rabbit,white rabbit,i wish on white rabbit" but its got to be first thing on waking before speaking to anyone.just point out that lucky rabbits foot?? not very lucky for the poor bunny whose it was,lolol.take care love mort xxxx

  19. I never heard of Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. I've heard and seen a rabbit's foot on key chains but this is new to me and I thought I heard of most superstitions. Like I won't have anything with birds on it inside my home.

    Hugs, Rose

  20. We say "jaaaaaack rabbit!" as we're crossing a state border... jaaaaaack for the last few yards and then a fast "rabbit" when you hit the state line. I even say it if I'm alone.

    I also kiss my hand and touch the roof of the car when going through a yellow light as if I'm blowing a kiss to the traffic light. I don't know why but it drove Michael CRAZY!

    I'm southern... we have saying for everything!

    Hope your new year is going well!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?