Superstitious sayings

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birdiewilsis | 19:50 Mon 10th Oct 2005 | Phrases & Sayings
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Have you heard that sayin fox and rabbit three times on the first day of a new month is good luck?


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My mum always say that you should say "white rabbits" three times, and I must admit I always do! I don't know where it originates, but I know that you're supposed to say it before you say anything else that month.
ive heard the white rabbits one.  It has to be the first thing you say that day to bring you luck for the month

yuup rabbits rabbits rabbits

I was taught this in 1958 - from my mother who was brought up in India

The 'white rabbits' good luck chorus certainly sounds ancient, but the fact remains that it appears nowhere in English print before 1959! Yes, the reference was in the Opies' book about schoolchildrens' lore, but, if it was truly old, one would certainly expect there to have been some reference to it or use of it in earlier literature. The single word 'rabbits' did appear in the same context earlier but not before 1920 either. 
There are some who believe it originated with Lewis Carroll's �Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and others who claim it derives from a German custom of pagan times when pairs of white rabbits were sacrificed at the beginning of months for luck.
However, this is one of these things with an air of the historic about it which it does not truly deserve. The "tradition" of saying these particular words on the first of a month for luck is, at most perhaps, about a century old, despite the idea that sacred rabbits existed in much earlier times.
Just plain "rabbits" in my family; it has to be the very first thing you say on the 1st of the month, and we were saying it before 1959.....
Just read QM's answer properly - I can't say whether my grandmother said it before 1920, and she's long gone now.
I was saying 'white rabbits' before 1959. Came from my mother - I would imagine it came from her childhood decades earlier (it doesn't sound like something you would suddenly start doing in adulthood) but I don't know that for sure.
The 1959 reference was regarding the earliest recorded - ie written down - use of the word(s). It's quite likely for anyone currently alive - even someone my age - that their grandparents, never mind their parents, were saying the rabbity thing. Further back than that, though, there are absolutely no grounds for believing in its existence. My point was that it is quite 'recent' and not an ancient superstition. Cheers

yes, it's a reminder that although a dictionary may cite the earliest known use of a word, that will be the earliest written use - the word may well have been in existence long before that. Shakespeare is often credited with coining hundreds of words, but who's to say he hadn't heard them all in conversation previously, spoken by people who didn't write them down in plays?

Interesting incidentally birdie that nobody seems to have heard the 'fox and rabbit' variation in your original question - so perhaps you'll go into the OED as the original source for that phrase.

I just say white rabbits once - if I remember.
The other one of course is
'a pinch and a punch for the first of the month'
accompanied by the actions !

well, 1958-9 were the years of myxomatosis

which killed a large proportion of little bunnies. - I remember one rabbit coming out of a hedgerow and keeling over at my feet. It was a bit like the descriptions of rat-fall at the beginning of a plague epidemic.

and my oldmum did say we had to say rabbit rabbits rabits to do our bit to restore the bunny population.

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