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What's So Lucky About Rabbits?

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

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 "goodnight," 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 playing hound and rabbit? “OK, 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 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 his companion. He replies, “Because we need the eggs.”

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