It turns out that the exact origin of the superstition is unknown although Wikipedia states it was mentioned in printed works as far ago as 1954 in Bromley, Kent. This is where most people seem to think it originated, although some reports place the origin even earlier in the 1800s. Indeed, while we were researching we found mention of a folklore stating: “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.” This was from the spring 1919 edition of the ‘Westminster Gazette’.
What most people do agree on is that the superstition is based on the belief that rabbits and hares are considered “lucky” animals. This is further demonstrated by the tradition of carrying a rabbit’s foot as a good luck charm. The Bears are not too sure on that one because, as Razzi asks, “it wasn’t very lucky for the rabbit that lost his foot, was it?”
There are many variations on the tradition. The earliest reference to the superstition is to saying “Rabbits” three times before going to bed and then “Hares” three times when waking up. Three years later, it was just three “Rabbits” when waking. In some areas, you get good luck for the month in others you only get good luck from the people who actually hear you saying the phrase. Some consider saying the phrase on the first day of the year will bring you yearlong good luck. Others believe that once someone has said the phrase to you then you cannot repeat it to anyone else. Another variation is to say “Bunny Bunny Hop Hop”, which we had not heard before but quite like.
All agree that the phrase must be spoken before 12 noon on the first day of the month.
While searching for the origins of the phrase, we even found a little poem for people who are a little annoyed by all the fuss…
Rabbits hot, rabbits cold.
Rabbits new, rabbits old.
Rabbits tender, rabbits tough.
Of rabbits, I have had enough!
In conclusion, we cannot reveal where the phrase originated because everyone has a different version and each version seems to have evolved from a different source. All we know is; we hope you all have good luck this month!