Not sure this one belongs here at all but just thought I might ask this very erudite clan of wordsmiths for help on it. For as long as I can remember on the 1st day of every month, almost the first thing you must do and certainly the first thing you say, we say the expression, "White rabbits, white rabbits," for good luck. There seems to be some significance in saying it twice and you most not speaking or say anything else on the morn of the 1st day of the month -- just that silly expression. Anyone have any ideas. I know my family and our Irish cousins have it in common. Thanks Patrick
Roger Hill wrote:
I used to know it as a single 'white rabbit' to be said first thing on the first day of the month, before any other word was spoken.
On checking with other sources I hear the variant was that 'rabbit' said aloud three times did the trick, no 'white' preceding.
This rabbitry brought a month of (good) luck.
Sounds like transliterated Hebrew to me, that is, literally an idiom with the meaning: (have a) great month.
Hebrew het-dalet-shin KHoDeSH = month Anciently, the het-W parallel and a dental shin would make this word sound like WDT --> white.
Hebrew resh-bet-taf-yod RaBaTi = great, mighty. RaBaT = much, abundantly, exceedingly. Resh-bet-heh RaVaH (anciently ? RaBaTh) = multiply, increase, to become many, become great.
Perhaps this is why rabbits are associated with rapid reproduction. Or viewed the other way round, why these rapidly multiplying critters are called rabbits.
It is a Jewish custom to say SHaVoo3a ToV = (have a) good week at the beginning of each week (on Saturday night). And there is an elaborate blessing on the sabbath before each new moon (= a new Hebrew month) during which the congregation prays for a good, abundant month.
Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. What I tell you three times is true, as explained by Lewis Carroll in "The Hunting of the Snark". Needless to say, the Rev. Charles Ludwig Dodgson was fluent in Hebrew.
At work, one of my colleagues gave me the nickname "White Rabbit", probably because she referred to our boss as the "Red Queen". - izzy "white rabbit"
- Izzy on 12/7/2000
Subject: Re: White Rabbit = (have a) great month
Izzy must be Irish; "Cooney" is a rabbit in Irish--"Cohen".
The Kelts did not use vowels either. Irish Ogam script is very similar to Semitic spelling. I have mentioned before that there are caves in the Atlas Mountains with Ogam writing on the walls. Scholars in that area can read the writing.
For example a patronymic would be written B-N in Semitic while in Keltic Ogam it would be written as M-Q. In "P" Keltic it would be M-B.
A solar disk in Keltic would be H-W-L or G-L-N. In the Atlas Mountains it would be T-R-S. The "W" has a sound value of "L" in Keltic. The patronymic would be the same as in Semitic. There is a way to transliterate from Keltic to Punic. I won't go into that.
Ogam writing has been found in Mass., Conn., Vermont, and in Maine---long before the Vikings found "Vineland".
Hey! There used to be a Cohen that was the Mayor of Dublin--I think for 14 years if I remember right.
- Izzy on 12/13/2000
Thank you for the vote. White Rabbit was winning until recently, when I got a whole stream of rabbits! When did you hear of this? What is your mythology? Is it carnivorous (stealing others' luck) or gentle (getting better luck)?
The [white] rabbit "blessing" was recently discussed on the ABOUT-WORDS-L list. I'll send you the emails that I saved from this thread.
I suspect "white rabbit" is a classical idiom (perhaps borrowed from Aramaic) that meant "month abundant" non-idiomatically in the source language.
- Izzy on 12/13/2000
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