1 Feb 2016

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Even Mr. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has confessed to a friend that he says 'Rabbits' on the first of every month—and, what is more, he would not think of omitting the utterance on any account.
The Nottingham Evening Post 27th November, 1935
When I was a very little boy I was advised to always murmur 'White rabbits' on the first of every month if I wanted to be lucky. From sheer force of unreasoning habit I do it still—when I think of it. I know it to be preposterously ludicrous, but that does not deter me.
Sir Herbert Russell, On Superstition. Life's Fancies and Fantasies 1925

It always gives me a great deal of satisfaction if I remember to say, "Rabbit! Rabbit," on the first day of the month. I'm not superstitious - never have been, but somehow I still like to think that if I remember to say the magical words, the month will be a happy one. I don't know anybody else that follows the old tradition, although google tells me I'm in good company - which is somewhat of a relief. It's nice to know that I'm not entirely nutty, even if I do try and sort of turn the words into a rough type of mumbled cough if my Beloved is still in the room. "Cough, cough, ahem, er rabbits, cough."

Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, “Rabbit! Rabbit!” She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. “I’ve finally done it!” she cried ... “Well, ever since I was Bobby’s age I’ve been trying to remember to say ‘Rabbit! Rabbit!’ and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you’ve said another word, your wish comes true.” Trixie laughed.
Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Emeralds

This was not a family tradition for me - my first introduction to the idea was in my early teens through my much loved Trixie Belden books. Book 14 (yes, I read them all) begins with an explanation of Rabbit! Rabbit!, and so my method is exactly the same as Trixie's, although it seems there are a lot of variations. Some people say Rabbit; others Rabbits or White Rabbits or Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! Some have variations for the night before - Trixie said Rabbit! Rabbit! there, too, and so did I, only at some stage in the last forty years or so, I've changed from that to saying "Hares". The magic still works, though.

To be absolutely honest, I don't know whether a Rabbit month is luckier than a non-Rabbit one. Once I say the words I tend to forget about it all until the end of the month comes around, and if I forget, well so far life has gone on much as before. But the idea that a ritual like this could actually influence anything isn't the point. The point is that it is fun, and it is one of the many things that makes our family life a delight. I love passing traditions like this onto my daughter. I love creating memories for her of things that make us special and different.

To be honest, I don't think I could give up the habit even if I wanted to. I don't actually plan to say Rabbit! until I remember. And then I do, and I feel inordinately pleased with myself.

So today has been a good month. And February's going to be a very, very good month. I've done my bit, anyhow. How can it not be after that?

Rabbit! Rabbit!

I hope February is great for you, too.



  1. This is new to me. I love how many things I have learnt from you. I love how you see everything as passing down a tradition. Cool post.

  2. There is a Trixie Belden book I read as a girl in which she left signs all over her room to say Rabbit, Rabbit when she woke up on the first of the month. That made such a huge impression on me. Nice to know you and Trixie have this in common.

  3. I loved this post, Jeanne. I had never heard of this tradition before but I concur that it is an awfully fun one. Many fond memories for you and yours.

    Our first of the month tradition relates back to my trying to teach my oldest child the months of the year. On the 1st of every month at breakfast we spell the month cheerleader style ("Give me an A!" "A!," etc).

  4. I've NEVER heard of this before, Jeanne!!! How interesting! :D Best wishes for your February also! :)


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