- Religion and Philosophy
Some Bunny's Gonna Get Lucky
With this piece you are probably beginning to sense a theme going on here...
Several months ago, I came across a picture and that one set of pixels sparked a chain reaction in my twisted little brain. Feverishly, I set about writing a hub for it, spending a large amount of time researching every angle I could think of in order to do so.
Unfortunately, I found WAY too much information and while it all contributed to the overall story...it also detracted from my original intention. Since I'm a packrat at heart, sifting through all of this information and trying to decide what should stay and what should go, became tortuous and I shelved the entire project. I never intended NOT to write it....I just decided that trying to force it would be a very bad thing.
And so...I give to you the second course of this rabbit feast, hoping that by the time we get to the main dish, your appetite will be completely whetted.
For those of you that may have missed the appetizer, you can catch up by reading my previous hub: Confessions of a Chocolate Bunny Thief
The Rabbit's Foot
"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit."
R. E. Shay, Humorist
Rabbits have long been considered throughout folklore to be lucky. Even possessing the mere appendage of a not so fortunate member of the Leporidae family is considered to bring the bearer good luck. In African-American folk magic, commonly known as hoodoo, rabbits feet were commonly believed to be a good luck talisman and by merely rubbing it, one could activate good fortune or prevent bad luck.
Although not as common today, probably because of animal rights activism, images of the rabbit’s foot were used frequently during the pre-and post-World War II era. In the 1950’s, Burma-Shave, famous for its witty roadside signage had this to say:
On curves ahead
That rabbit’s foot
Didn’t save the bunny
By the 1970’s, when I was the proud possessor of my very own rabbit’s foot, gaudily dyed and used as a keychain, the amulet was considered more of a fad than a mystical hoodoo foot. While mine was received as a carnival prize, acquiring this particular lucky charm was not always so simple. A few common strictures that have been lost to time:
- Not any appendage of the rabbit qualified to be a charm. Only the left hind foot of the rabbit was useful.
- In addition, the left hind foot must come from a rabbit shot or otherwise captured in a cemetery
- Furthermore, the left hind foot of the rabbit in the cemetery must be taken during a full moon (or a new moon, depending on which version you happened to hear)
- Also…when shooting the rabbit in the cemetery during a full moon and prior to taking its left hind leg, one should kill it with a silver bullet (or better yet, take the foot while the bunny is still alive). Personally, I think this particular rule came about when somebody confused a bunny with a werewolf and the alternative is just plain cruel.
While these clarifiers might sound a bit ridiculous, making it rather difficult to obtain a rabbit’s foot of the appropriate good fortune…once they were mass produced and cheapened to the point where anyone could have one, these trinkets became just another victim of American pop culture.
The Year of the Rabbit
I was born in 1963…which was, in Chinese astrological terms…the year of the rabbit, or even more specifically the year of the water rabbit.
Delicate and docile, Water Rabbits will pretty well go with the flow to avoid any conflict or argument. These situations hurt them and bother them because they are such sensitive creatures. They are usually sociable and relaxed, although sometimes they get withdrawn and introspective. They are supportive with family and friends as well as business partners and display an empathy that makes people flock to them for friendly advice and comfort. Sometimes, they can easily be taken advantage of because they are so generous with themselves and their emotions. So they have to be careful not to let their guards down so quickly.
Evidently there are metal rabbits, water rabbits, wood rabbits, earth rabbits and fire rabbits. How disappointed I was to discover there were no chocolate rabbits. But whatever type of rabbit a person happened to be, the one thing that all of those paper placemats found in Chinese restaurant agreed upon was the fact that rabbit people are extraordinarily lucky.
One day, while talking to my future husband on the phone, he casually said, “Oh…by the way…rabbit.”
Whatever we had been talking about was immediately forgotten as I puzzled over this odd interjection.
“Rabbit?” I asked.
I could tell he was enjoying my suspense as I slowly became irritated by this mysterious pronouncement.
“Okay….rabbit,” I replied.
“No…no…you can’t say rabbit now. It doesn’t work that way.”
“What do you mean I can’t say rabbit? Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit….”
He laughed at me….probably because I sounded like a pissed off frog.
Eventually, I did manage to get an explanation from him and from that day forward, it became a tradition that we share.
“Rabbit, rabbit, white rabbit” is a common superstition which states that the person who says this upon waking on the first day of each new month will receive good luck for the remainder of the month. As with any superstition, it has been subjected to time and there are various permutations of it found in every culture. For my husband, merely saying the word “rabbit” guarantees the person good fortune.
While the exact origin of the superstition is unknown, it has appeared in print as early as 1920, although some attribute its roots to an even earlier period of the 1800’s. Since, as with most folklore, it was spread traditionally by word of mouth, there are numerous variant versions of the “rabbit, rabbit” superstition:
- Saying “rabbit, rabbit” on the first day of a new year will bring luck to the person all year long
- Being the first to say “rabbit, rabbit” on the first day of the new month will bring luck to that person. Once someone has said “rabbit, rabbit” to you, you are no longer allowed to repeat this phrase to anyone, thus ensuring that you will be the recipient of bad luck.
- Instead of saying “rabbit, rabbit” one may say “rabbits,” “rabbit” or “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.” Other acceptable terms are “bunny, bunny, hop, hop” and “a pinch and a punch for the first day of the month…white rabbit!”
- To prevent forgetting to say rabbit on the first day of the month, one should say “tibbar, tibbar” (rabbit spelled backwards) before going to bed. If doing so does not ward off amnesia, then it is acceptable to say “moose, moose” on the second day of the month.
As you can see, like the whole rabbit foot harvesting rules, the proper way to guarantee good fortune became ridiculously complex and burdensome.
My husband and I have our own version which was developed out of necessity. After about a year, probably less, my husband realized that his wife was “rabbit” challenged and he grew tired of always being so damned lucky. It wasn’t enough for him that I was born during a fortunate year and owned a talisman of great hoodoo power.
On the first of the month, my husband resorts to rabbit trickery…
I’m so gullible I fall for it every time. He’ll hold up a picture while I’m preoccupied and shout, “Just what the hell is this anyway???” Shocked by his outburst, I’ll answer before thinking, “It’s just a damn rabbit. What in the world is your problem?”
“Ha! Got you to say it!” he smugly replies before sauntering off.
It’s amazing how many things there are with the word rabbit in them…
But occasionally…very rarely…I get even. Yesterday, while working on my Easter bunny piece I showed him a picture and he said, “Yeah….so what. It’s a big rabbit.”
“Ha!” I said with a smile, “Gotcha!”
“It doesn’t count,” he flippantly replied. “It’s the second day of the month.”
Unfortunately, neither one of us will be lucky this month. I couldn’t’ be bothered to find a picture of a moose.