Rabbit, Rabbit!

What is the etymology of the phrase" Rabbit, Rabbit" said on the first day of a month? Or is it just the first day of August?

My wife woke up this morning and the first thing out of her mouth was “Rabbit, Rabbit”.

Groggily I said: Where??

She said: No, dummy, you say rabbit, rabbit on the first of the month.

I asked why, and she wasn’t sure…

Does anyone know where the phrase, “rabbit, rabbit” comes from when said on the first of the month?

There are obviously a few variations on this tradition - here, it’s that ‘white rabbits’ (repeated a varying number of times, depending on who is telling you about it) should be your first utterance on the first of any month, for luck.

There’s a bit here about it - where it is implied to be quite a modern thing, but I reckon its origins are probably older, but lost.

Happy Month White Rabbit! is the greeting we give each other in our house on the first of the month. My wife’s mother taught her to do it as a kid.

I started a thread about this same thing long ago…

This is mostly gleaned from Iona and Peter Opie, esp. A Dictionary of Superstitions.

The belief and custom are common to Britain and its colonies; the earliest attestation is only 1919 (“To secure good luck of some kind, usually a present, one should say ‘Rabbits’ three times before going to sleep on the last day of the month, and then ‘Hares’ three times on waking the next morning.”) The Opies connect it to the custom of bowing to (or otherwise paying reverent attention to) the new moon, which goes back to medieval times (for bowing) or ancient times (moon ‘worship’).

As to why rabbits, whole books have been written on the subject. My personal favorite is George Ewart and David Thomson’s The Leaping Hare. In essence, rabbits are fertile and therefore lucky creatures, and what we see as “the man in the moon” is perceived as a hare in many parts of the world.

There are other ways of marking the new moon in contemporary folklore. I was woken up with “a pinch and a punch on the first of the month,” though to be fair they were fairly gentle.

I grew up with “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” on the first of any month. (Irish/English background, grew up in RI.)

I’ve never heard of it. I think your wife had a peculiar dream or she’s having you on.

Well she had me on…Doh! :smack: … nevermind. :smiley: