Hi, I live in Yorkshire, England & ever since I can remember we have said "White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits" (in the plural) on the 1st day of March. It is supposed to be the first thing you say in the morning when you wake, and after that you are supposed to be lucky. I was taught this tradition by my grandmother who was born in 1900, and she had been taught it from her Mother before that, so it is NOT a relatively new tradition. It's also OK to say it on the first day of every month, but March is meant to be the most important one. Hope this helps your theory.
From what I understand there is no competitive nature to this other than having one over those who forgot to say it. I think perhaps it has something to do with the beginning of the year (ie. Spring) and the luck the year might hold, but if this is the case then the tradition must be much older than we first imagined. Thank for your interest in what might be our strangest custom.
Some say that the male "March Hare" is prone to skittish or mad behaviour because of the mating season, and unfortunately we seem to adopt this phrase towards humans for the same reason.
Everyone I know knows of this saying, my husband and his family have always used it also for as long as he can remember, so we didn't have to explain our own madness on the 1st of each month thank goodness! I think it is a rather common saying but we are all a little embarrassed by it.
- Su on 3/1/2003
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