Posted by ESC on April 01, 2003
In Reply to: White Rabbits posted by Kit on April 01, 2003
: Does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'White Rabbits', the first thing you're supposed to say on the 1st day of each month with letter 'r' in it? Or is my family the only one that says it?
HARE OR RABBIT: SAYING AT CHANGE OF MONTH -- "1920 'Folklore' 319. According to several correspondents in the 'Westminster Gazette' (spring of 1919) the following belief is common in many parts of Great Britain, with local variants: To secure good luck of some kind, usually a present, one should say 'Rabbits' three times just before going to sleep on the last day of the month, and then 'Hares' three times on waking the next morning.1982 Woman c.50 (Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham) The first words you say for a lucky month are 'White Rabbits'. If you can remember to say that twelve times a year, you'll have a very lucky year. 1984 Woman 47 (Chichester, Sussex) If you say 'Black cats' on the last night of the month and 'White rabbits' next morning, you will get a present before the month is out." From "A Dictionary of Superstitions" Edited by Iona Opie and Moira Tatem (Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 1989). Page 192.
See also in the archives, Rabbity customs (orig. posted June 2002) http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/14/messages/57.html