Posted in Family, Today's File

Rabid Rabbiters

It’s the first of the month–do you know what that means?  (No, no, I’m not blogging about NaNoWriMo. I’ve pledged not to–though it occurs to me I didn’t make any promises about Twitter…) The first of any month is Rabbit-Rabbit day in our family.  The family tradition (spread now among several generations of family friends) holds that if you say “Rabbit Rabbit” to someone on the 1st of the month–before they say it to you–you get their luck for the month.

Sounds a little mean-spirited, as I think about it–although I’ll hasten to add that I can name quite a few occasions when the successful rabbit-captor has “given the rabbits back” after winning the contest, particularly when a Big Event (surgery, exam) was looming for the Rabbit-ee.  In our family it’s really about the competition more than the luck.  Who’s going to remember first?  How can you trick someone into hearing your Rabbit-Rabbit before uttering it themselves?

I’ve been known to drink coffee till midnight so I could stay up to wake someone at 12:01; I’ve been known to make midnight phone calls; I’ve been known, in days before cell phones, to go to a neighbor’s house (unfamiliar number on caller ID) and phone a family member to blurt “Rabbit Rabbit” before they realized it was me…  (My neighbors already suspected I was nuts–that episode only confirmed it.)  And of course now we can sling rabbits via email, text-message, and FaceBook.

Elena Grace's "Bunny," which USED to be a White Rabbit... (This is what happens when you shop with kids; I'm sure my mom has a matching photo of MY bear in HER purse...)

A few minutes after midnight this morning, I got a text message from my husband, who was sitting right beside me in our bed at the time.  He likes to play with tradition, so this one read: “Mongoose, Mongoose, my Wife.”

I’ve been part of this family for 445 months’ worth of Rabbit-Rabbits, and I have never met a person (aside from friends of our own family) who had heard of such a thing.  So imagine my astonishment this morning to discover a “Rabbits Rabbits” Tweet from a complete stranger (well, someone I follow who follows me–but you know, not someone who would have learned rabbits from my family).  Of course I had to ask about his history with Rabbit-Rabbiting, and come to find out, there’s even a Wikipedia page  about the tradition and all its variations.  Who knew?!  Well, obviously a lot of people–I just hadn’t met any of them until now.

I rather like the variation where a person simply becomes lucky by beginning the day saying “Rabbit Rabbit” (or “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit,” or “White Rabbit  White Rabbit,” or… well, you get the picture…) Seems a little friendlier than our own proposition of trying to steal each other’s luck.  But I’d miss the competition–even though I most often lose it to my kids these days, sneaky little boogers.

Apparently the tradition has its roots in British folklore, though no one seems certain when or precisely where; the Irish have their own variation with “coinín bán” (“white rabbit” in Gaelic); and it evidently enjoyed some spread in American military circles (with the caveat that it had to be a “live comm”)…

I had already intended today to write about this quirky family tradition, and it’s fun to find out it’s shared more widely. Maybe my family is a little less crazy than I thought.  (Or maybe not…)  In any case, I have to close, of course, with that lucky little pair of words…  RABBIT RABBIT!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

31 thoughts on “Rabid Rabbiters

  1. I went to a boarding school for my last 4 years of school, I thought I was one of the few that knew about rabbit, rabbit…Thank you Kana,,Your blog makes me smile…and giggle…from my heart…thank you!!!!


  2. So funny! Never heard of this quirky tradition, but I love it! I don’t think our family could adopt it though because my hubby would never remember it and I’d have all the luck all the time. But then again, I might forget too as I never know what day it is anymore. Thanks for the smiles tonight. : )


  3. I have never heard of this tradition but it sounds like fun. Funny but my post today mentioned rabbits and I have read three other posts from other folks that mentioned them too. Good thing is I know I’m not pregnant :)


  4. Rabbit Rabbit! Of Course, why didn’t I think of that!, Lucky rabbits feet, are only the backones usually, they have a lot more kick to them! So guess that makes the front not so lucky?


  5. This is so cool! Nice to have a tradition like that :D We used to pinch each other on the first day of each month, but since I live far away from my family and my friends (childhood friends) we don’t do it anymore. But I should introduce this to my boyfriend: D Thanks for reminding me how small things can make you happy! :D


  6. I had not heard of Rabbit Rabbit before, but I am very familiar with the position of Mom as the Holder of All Things a Child Decides She Doesn’t Want To Carry Around With Her Any More. I missed that in the original job description, but then, there were a lot of things I didn’t see in that original job description that I have learned about over the years. Great post!



  7. Hooray for White Rabbit! I caught it from my Mum, who had more superstitions than you could shake a stick at (wherever THAT expression comes from- must be food here for another blog!) It never seemed mean spirited but my understanding was that only one of you could have the luck for that month. Can’t recollect ever being especially lucky as a result of “winning” though.


    1. My favorite Polish tradition (I’m Irish but we had neighbors from Krakow and shared around our various crazinesses, I mean traditions) is Smingus Dyngus… Though I haven’t introduced THAT one to my kids, I confess… ;)


  8. Interesting. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this before.
    I love to see family traditions such as this though, because
    it makes that family unique. Not following the same old cliche’s
    that’s broadcasted makes it more special. Great read!


  9. Your father once convinced my college roomie (Katink of course) to put pink sheets on my dorm bed to which a Playboy centerfold was taped and the words “Bunny Bunny” were written upon it.
    He then kept me out on a date right up until midnight, the sneak.
    One very nice result of this crazy tradition: I get to talk with Judy on the first of each month, no matter which us us “wins.”


  10. I learned Rabbit Rabbit from my first college roommate who was from Denver. The only other person I’ve ever met who had this tradition was also from Colorado, so I had a false sense it was a Colorado thing. I guess I’ll have to go see what Wiki has to say.

    I learned the “make it the first thing you say to have good luck” version, and have always liked it, though I often don’t remember in time. I completely spaced it this month — too focused on NaNoWriMo!


  11. that seems like a really fun family tradition . . . nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! Especially when it involves letting the neighbors know how crazy you are. Although it is good that you all know how to “impart your luck of the rabbits” on others when they need it more than you.


  12. Rabbit, rabbit! I’d completely forgotten about that little game. I’d heard about it as a child, and always tried so hard to be the one to say it first. I never remembered quickly enough!


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