Not a different rabbit. We only said it once and it was supposed to bring good luck but there was the competitiveness of it to do it first. I think it must be a very old tradition and it would be interesting to trace. I am 78 and learned from my mother and it was certainly a tradition when she was young. I saw it mentioned once in an Evelyn Waugh book. I suspect it has its roots in England.
I don't know what Evelyn Waugh book. I have tried to remember. It was mentioned, as I remember, as if anyone would understand what it meant. I, also, ran across it in a book I read the other day, which was why I searched in Google and came up with your site. It was a mystery called The Body in the Bonfire by Katherine Hall Page and I can't find the reference but will. The author lives in Massachusetts. My mother was born and brought up in Kentucky.
I read the tales on the site and because mine seemed to be the oldest, I wrote. When I get time I am going to look in English folk lore books. Fascinating to have something so OLD stay in folk memory so long. Will get back and copy the quote in the Page book. I copied it for my daughter and now can't find it.
Here's the quote from The Body in the Bonfire by Katherine Hall Page. It's a new book-2002 from William Morrow, p.195 and 196. Rabbit, rabbit, Faith had said to Tom. It was the first day of February. Not a single person she'd encountered since her move to Aleford (imaginary town in Massachusetts) had ever been able to explain the derivation of this old custom- that you'd have good luck all month if you said Rabbit, rabbit upon awakening on the first day. Lucky rabbit's foot taken a few hops further? Some months, she forgot. Not this month.
2 rabbits and not said to anyone necessarily.
- Peg on 12/15/2002
My mother was born in Lexington, KY in 1893 and lived there until 1916. I am a genealogist and know a good deal about her family and also about Lexington. Aside from the black population, most of the whites came from Virginia and Maryland, with English backgrounds, with a tad of Germans, and that was her background, too.
For it to have spread so far, there has to be a central spot where it started and England (as opposed to Ireland and Scotland) makes sense. One thing that bothers me, if it is really ancient as I think, is when did people become really aware of the change of months?
I spent a good deal of time yesterday in the card catalog at the University Library looking for superstitions and rabbits and didn't come up with any book to pursue.
I e-mailed a friend, who lives in Canada, but moved from England as an adult. I asked her if she knew this and she replied, "I had forgotten about the "rabbit" bit. It's a curious custom, isn't it? If you find out where it came from, let me know." This is hardly proof but I don't think an American born chosen at random would know what I was talking about. My husband has some English cousins and when Christmas is over, I will query them.
- Peg on 12/18/2002
You guess it. Rabbit.
- Peg on 4/1/2003
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