It's August 1, and plenty of people rang in the day by exclaiming 'Rabbit!' or 'Rabbit, Rabbit!' to ensure good luck throughout the month. But from where does this tradition hail?
Earlier today, Yankee Magazine helpfully shared a folksy and delightful article from 2008 on the tradition of saying 'Rabbit Rabbit'.
This morning, I woke up and spoke the word to the silence around me. And finally realized that in this new world of instant information, I finally have the means to answer that question. I went directly to my computer and Googled "rabbit+first day of the month" and up came a variety of sites that referred to this strange habit. That validated me right there. According to the Wikipedia entry, the origin of this custom in unknown but it can be traced back to perhaps the 15th century, maybe even the 13th — good heavens! And it came from England, which makes sense since that is where my grandmother's family came from. The reasons for the word Rabbit (as opposed to Luck! Or Help! Or Hello! — it seems that any nonsense word would probably do the trick) aren't particularly clear (they link it to a lucky rabbit's foot but then you have to ask, what is so lucky about a rabbit's foot?) but the entry continues to say that one reason for the word Rabbit might be that "it is jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness."
The author is correct that the origins of the rabbit's foot as a symbol of luck is murky; this piece from Today I Found Out posits that the tradition may be Celtic in origin, or perhaps has its roots in African folk religion. How vexing!
And now if you'll excuse me, I have a rabbit hole to fall into!