Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rabbit, rabbit!

“Rabbit, rabbit,” I mumbled to myself as I wrote the date at the top of my journal page at 5:19 yesterday morning.

I’ve been saying “Rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my sisters did as well. We learned it from our mother.

And thanks to Facebook  it was easy for me to ask one of my mother’s cousins if she does this too. My mother’s family has all kinds of random superstitions and curious traditions, and being in closer touch with one of her cousins through Facebook has helped me to untangle where some of them come from. 

For example, this same cousin referred to doing skits on Christmas Eve, and she even used the word “stunts,” just as my grandparents always did, which I consider to be something of a malapropism since they usually involve singing camp songs while playing the piano and not, say, performing a trapeze act from the rafters. 

Nonetheless, this particular cousin is related to my mother through my grandfather, not my grandmother, so when she wrote about it on Facebook, I discovered that my long-held assumption about the side of my mother’s family from which this tradition originated was wrong.

I can also credit Facebook for the discovery that other friends do “Rabbit rabbit” too. Well, not a lot of other friends. Two other friends, to be exact. One who is about ten years older than I am and grew up in New York and Maine; the other a high school classmate from southeastern Massachusetts. So I’m having trouble finding any kind of common thread as far as what kind of people practice this tradition and why.

But in the age of Google, it’s always easy to find a little bit of information, albeit quite possibly fallacious, about whatever question happens to be on your mind at any given moment. Today I Googled, and discovered that the origins of “Rabbit rabbit” are unknown, possibly British, and it’s more popular in New England than in other parts of the country (my mother’s family was from Chicago, though, so that doesn’t explain the presence of the tradition in her background). I also learned Franklin Roosevelt was one of the superstition’s better-known adherents.

As with any good-luck superstition, though, if you believe in it at all, then once you know about it, you can’t give it up. So when the first of the month arrives, “Rabbit, rabbit” for good luck it is. Most months I find I have very good luck; those when I don’t, I figured it could have been worse had I skipped the ritual. I don’t really know who does this and I don’t really know why, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m in good company. Rabbit rabbit: April has arrived.

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