I love superstitions. I have a strange relationship with them; I don’t actually believe that anything is going to bring me good luck, but at the same time I won’t roll up the rim on a Tim Horton’s cup if there’s still liquid in it (because then I totally won’t win), and if I see something amazing like a crow executing a perfect mid-air barrel-roll, I will definitely accept that as a sign of good things to come. I’m comfortable living with a lot of seemingly conflicted ideas in my head.
As today is the first of the month, my family has been in heated competition to be the first person to say “White Rabbit” to everyone else. My mom says that her mother, my Nana, used to wake them up this way on the first of every month. She was British, and apparently that’s where the tradition/superstition comes from. I’ve always just sort of taken it for granted that our rules were the right ones: you have to say it to someone before they say it to you, and your prize is… well, bragging rights was all I ever thought it was before, but apparently it’s good luck.
I looked it up this morning (sorry, nothing here you can’t find on Google); apparently more people do this than I realized, and there are a ton of variations. Most common seems to be that it has to be the first thing out of your mouth on the first of the month, and this will somehow bring you good luck. There are lots of people besides my family who do it as a competition, but the former seems to be more common.
People say different things, too, and I’d bet that most of them are rabidly (rabbitly?) loyal to their own phrase. We say “White Rabbit” in my family, always have; the other most common seems to be “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit,” followed by “Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits”- possibly multiplying the luck, or just because you never see just one rabbit, I don’t know- or repeating “White Rabbit(s)” three times.
It’s fun, but I have way too many questions, especially where competition is concerned.
First of all, how does technology affect this? Does a Facebook status shout-out count, or does it have to be said to people individually to count as “winning?” How about a Facebook message or e-mail? What if the other person is asleep or not online? What if they call and say it to you before they see the written message, or even before they pick up a voice message from you? Could I schedule a blog post for midnight on the first and say it counts, even though most of my family won’t see it? I NEED ANSWERS, PEOPLE!*
My mom wants to know how time zones affect the competition. In times past this wasn’t an issue; anyone you said it to was close enough to hear it in person, or far enough to require a long-distance phone call (and who’s going to do that at midnight?). Now, however, we’re in touch with people all over the world. I, being an hour and a half ahead of the rest of my family, think that time zones definitely count. Depending on what the other rules are, I can White Rabbit anyone I please at midnight, Newfoundland time (yeah, we have our own time zone. We’re cool like that). Not that I’m awake at midnight, ever, but still.
And finally, my creepiest concern with the competition: if we honestly believe that winning gives us good luck, where is it coming from? I would hope that it’s just like saying it to yourself, that the luck is somehow spontaneously generated or comes from out there somewhere (possibly sneezed out by a unicorn who is particularly fond of bunnies), but what if it’s not? What if we’ve been stealing each other’s luck all these months and years? WHAT THEN, MY FAMILY?! *dramatic sob*
Here’s what I’ve decided: It’s a superstition, it’s silly, but it’s fun. If I want to start saying it first thing on the first of every month, it’ll be a lot better than the “It’s not time to get up yet!” that I let out at 6:30 this morning when I heard the *thud thud thud* of little feet. As far as competition goes, I hereby declare that (for me) it’s for entertainment purposes only, $3.99 per minute, long distance charges may apply. And time zones are a perfectly cromulent way to gain an edge. HA!
Seriously, we need a rule book.
Does anyone else do this, or have other first-of-the-month or family superstitions?
*My cousin who texts his mom at midnight the morning of the first every month would say that of course it counts.