Lucky rabbits on the first of the month?
I was a freshman in high school when my English teacher, Linda Pilon, introduced me to the RABBIT, RABBIT, RABBIT superstition. It’s a variant on a common British superstition that says that a person should say or repeat the word “rabbit,” “rabbits,” “white rabbits,” or some combination thereof, aloud upon waking on the first day of the month in order to ensure good luck for the month. According to Mrs. Pilon, it was a single utterance: “Rabbit.”
After hearing that, I asked around. Had anyone I knew ever heard of this superstition? Remember, this was waaaayyyy pre-Internet, it wasn’t in our 1981 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia, and I guess it didn’t occur to me that the library might have the answer.
It took me more than a dozen years to find another person who had even heard of this superstition. My friend Myles Standish, sports copy editor at the Arizona Daily Star, Boston native, and direct descendent of THE Myles Standish, told me, “Of course – but it’s not ‘Rabbit.’ It’s ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’” A few years later, I happened upon the Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit clothing line, which includes a version of the superstition right there on its tag. Another dozen or so years after that, I met another son of Massachusetts who also knew of the hare-y belief.
These days at the first of the month, my husband, sister, and I rush to out-rabbit each other – that is find a clever image and text it to the others before they’ve even opened their eyes for the day.
Yesterday’s rabbit adventures got me to wondering about author superstitions. Many athletes have them, so why shouldn’t writers? Things like wearing the same shirt to every reading, writing only facing north, turning on the laptop only after having had a cup of chamomile in one’s favorite mug, always writing the first draft in longhand, or knowing that the magic will flow now that you’ve heard a cricket chirp under your desk.
My mom used to tell me that if your palm itched, it meant you were going to receive money. I’ve never noticed itchy hands to be good prognostication devices, but maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention. Other than that and the rabbits, I don’t think I’m much of a superstition gal. That said, I’ve got nothing against them. If you think having your cat sit on your lap while wearing one green sock and one pink sock will help you write your best-seller, I say go for it! Anything to keep you writing.
And if you have a superstition you’d like to share, we’d love you to read about it in the Comments section below.
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