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White Rabbits—Superstitious Beginnings

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Did you say “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” for luck first thing before you uttered anything else this morning? Maybe you said it after midnight last night to get an early start on this month’s luck? Or even “Rabbit, rabbit” or any of the very many variations? I played it safe and said it last night.

Saying “white rabbits” at the beginning of each month is a superstition that is believed to have originated in England, although how far back it goes is anyone’s guess.

 

 

My mom is British, but she doesn’t remember the superstition, maybe because she left England at a young age, before she could learn any traditions or local lore. Saying “white rabbits” for luck may be British in origin, but I think my desire to incorporate it into my personal collection of superstitions probably comes from my Sicilian/Italian side, where old wives’ tales, folklore, and superstitions were part of the daily vocabulary. Besides invoking white rabbits we had some other favorites:

  • Throw salt over your shoulder if you spill it.
  • Don’t split a pole when walking with someone.
  • No hats on the bed!
  • Knock on wood if you speak of something that might bring bad luck.
  • Finding a heads up penny brings good luck.

I also love Stevie Wonder’s heavily researched take on the subject of superstition.

We are about to enter the Year of the Rabbit, which the Chinese regard as extremely lucky, so calling up some rabbits for luck seems extremely timely for February.

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