It just so happens that the first day of this new month falls on a Museday, the weekday formerly known as Tuesday. I hope you all remembered to say “Rabbit Rabbit!” when you woke up this morning.
In case you don’t happen to practice rabbit-rabbitology, it works like this: on the first day of a new month, you must immediately say “Rabbit! Rabbit!” upon waking. If you do, you’ll have good luck throughout the month, but If you should happen to forget, well, some things are better left unsaid. Despite what Wikipedia thinks, this is not just a silly superstition; it’s a cold, hard fact—just ask all the lucky individuals who hit the lottery after shouting RABBIT RABBIT like a lunatic on the first day of their lucky month.
Some rabbiteers, especially British ones, believe it’s essential to invoke three rabbits upon waking, not just two. I think that’s a bit of overkill but so what? We need all the luck we can get, especially this month—the last one of a year full of bad luck. Who knows? Maybe on the first day of 2021, I’ll wake up babbling a bunch of rabbits to ensure an extra-lucky new year. We’re way overdue!
Rabbits, especially ones with cute little feet, have always been associated with good luck. Why is that? Why don’t we have key chains featuring curly pig’s tails or furry llama ears? I’m surprised that PETA hasn’t done as much to protect rabbits’ feet as it has to has to safeguard all those feisty minks from the mean furriers who would make them into fashionable fur coats. The wee wife has one such coat hidden away in a closet, far from the prying eyes of any animal rights activist who might make her life miserable if she wore it to the grocery store on some frosty winter day. She claims it isn’t really hers; it “belonged to my mom!”
Back in the day, we used rabbit ears for better reception on our old black-and-white television sets. Was that because their ears were as lucky as their feet? What about their little cottontails? Aren’t they lucky, too? All the rabbits I know have refused to comment on the matter.
Rabbits abound—as they are wont to do—in literature. Peter bedeviled Mr. McGregor in his garden. Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail are beloved by generations of children, as is Margery Williams’ Velveteen Rabbit. It’s the White Rabbit, running late as usual, who leads Alice down to Wonderland. My own two children loved Pat the Bunny while I preferred Richard Adams’ debut novel, Watership Down, a wonderful story about a nest of rabbits seeking to establish a new home after their old warren was destroyed. The novel was rejected seven times before Rex Collings published it in 1972. It won several major awards and is now a series on Netflix. How’s that for good luck!!
Some people believe luck is self-made. One works hard or practices hard, and lo-and behold, one gets lucky. Maybe, but I prefer to imagine those two (or three) little rabbits who are working hard to send a monthly dose of good luck to all those who believe in them. I think of them akin to Santa’s elves, laboring away up in their North Pole workshop, big ears and all.
Rabbits have always been symbols of fertility. At Easter, they show up with baskets full of colored eggs, a mixed metaphor if ever I saw one. Maybe that’s a rabbit’s dirty little secret: a rabbit can even get lucky with a chicken.
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine. Two collections of his essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”) are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com