As far as I remember, I first heard about this sweet superstition at sleep-away summer camp in Maine about 35 years ago. It was supposed to bring luck, not steal luck from others (I don't like that concept at all.....) - kind of like the rabbit's foot, I suppose.
As I heard it, you were supposed to say "rabbit" (no prescribed number of rabbits) as the very first thing you uttered on the first day of the month. I was always unsure as to whether that meant that if I was up at midnight on the last day of the month, I should attempt to say 'rabbit' as soon after midnight as I could, or if the luck held off until I woke in the morning.....
I, of course, tried to magnify the luck by saying 'rabbit' multiple times (when I remembered to do it at all) - perhaps one for each week of the month, or even day of the month. Certainly at least one for each month on the first of the year. I still do it occasionally - when I remember. But I still don't know whether I should be doing it at midnight, too (or instead) -
- Dayle on 12/7/2000
Of all the variations I have encountered, multiplying the luck is a new one to me! The midnight problem is indeed a "small print" problem that can arise. There is also an Air Force variant involving rules wherein the people are in far different time zones. And the first of the year does not often arise in the mythology. Just the first of the month. Why, I have no idea! The Air Force folks had rules about answering machines and other electronic transmissions wherein the bodies were not actually speaking. Phone was OK, Answ machs not OK, email ... split.
Tee, Hee! JB love it!
I managed to say it just after midnight (how could I bypass saying it on the first day of the new Millennium, after all), as well as in the morning. I did alert my boyfriend that I would be saying it after the countdown ended, instead of finishing the toast we started, so as not to surprise him too much. I think I got in at least twelve, one for each month.
Happy New Year, New Millennium, etc.
- Dayle on 1/2/2001
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