What’s so lucky about rabbits?

I’ve been wondering why rabbits are considered good luck.

I practice a superstition-based ritual that invokes rabbits. On the last day of the month, after I crawl into bed and say good-night, I say “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” and go to sleep. The trick is not to say anything else until I wake up in the morning and repeat the invocation (or is it an incantation?). If I remember to say my “rabbits,” I’m supposed to have good luck for the month.

It’s hard for me to remember to say “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” in the morning, so I put a reminder on the floor next to my bed. That way, when I wake up, I see a note that says don’t forget your rabbits, and I’m good to go. I occasionally talk in my sleep, which makes me wonder if I’m subconsciously sabotaging myself. That could account for why I never feel particularly lucky, even after rabbit intervention.

Wishing for luck by calling on rabbits won’t attract attention from the ASPCA, or PETA, but where were these guys when I was a child and every kid I knew was carrying a real live (or real dead) rabbit’s foot for luck? I’m guessing those rabbits did not all die of natural causes.

And what about the way doctors used to tell women they were pregnant? “Congratulations,” they’d say after getting the lab work back, “the rabbit died. You’re pregnant!” Did a rabbit really die? Were the lab technicians eschewing microscopes and instead deploying hounds and rabbits? “Okay, if the hound catches the rabbit and kills it, this one is pregnant.”

Then there’s poor Lennie from Of Mice and Men. All he wanted to do was talk about rabbits. Remember what happened to him?

So I’m rethinking this whole rabbit-as-a-symbol-of-luck thing. Maybe I should hang up a horseshoe and wash my hands of rabbits altogether. To be honest, remembering to say my rabbits every month causes stress with no clear evidence of benefit. On the other hand, every little bit helps. Remember the joke at the end of Annie Hall? “My uncle thinks he’s a chicken,” says the Woody Allen character. “Why don’t you have him committed?” asks Tony Roberts. He replies, “Because we need the eggs.”


5 responses to “What’s so lucky about rabbits?

  1. It’s a slippery slope to OCD so be careful!

    I used to have a lucky rabbit’s foot. *Shudder* Why did rabbits die so doctors knew women were pregnant? I’m looking that up now. *Leaves*

    Oh geez, bad news:


    On the upside, your post came up 2nd and 3rd on Google when I typed, “Why doctors say rabbits die woman pregnant?” I know it’s not a pretty sentence.

    And here’s all you need to know about rabbit feet:


    I always blow on fuzzy dandelions, which I call “wishes”. And I step in all rainbow-hued oil slicks. Both of these are leftovers from when I was a kid. I don’t know if this has made me lucky or not. Professionally, I’m a big mess. Personally, I’m pretty lucky.

  2. Wow, that was really interesting stuff! Of course, if I’d looked it up first, I’d have had nothing to write about!

  3. Remember to hang your horse shoe upside down — like a U — so that your luck will not spill out.

  4. When we were little kids, my cousin and I had a similar tradition/ritual. On a car trip whenever we approached a cemetary, we’ d take a deep breath and say “Bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny…”. When we finally came to the end of the cemetary, we’d say “RABBIT.” I don’t know why. Perhaps it gave us luck. Dunno. Perhaps it just annoyed our parents out of their minds, which was a favorite hobby of ours.

  5. A visitor noticed that Niels Bohr, the great physicist, had a horseshoe hanging upside down on top of the barn door in his summer home.
    ” Bohr,” said the visitor, ” I can’t believe that you are superstitious.”
    “I’m not,” replied Bohr, ” but they say it works even if you don’t believe in it.”

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