Our daughters loved the tradition and would often say Rabbit themselves. They would ask me where this came from - and honestly - I didn't know. But thinking about it yesterday - as I said Rabbit to myself while sitting in the recliner in the wee hours of the morning (I woke up with a whopper of a headache), I decided to see if it was something I had just made up, or if it really was handed down from somewhere else.
Wikipedia says this:
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909:
"My two daughters are in the habit of saying 'Rabbits!' on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula."
Yankee Magazine says:
Today is the first day of the month and Rabbit! was the first word spoken in this house. I grew up thinking that our family was the only family with this strange tradition. On the morning of the first day of every month, there was a slow chorus in our house, from room to room, the word “Rabbit” was spoken one and then another until we had all been granted our month’s worth of good luck. In my mind, my grandmother was the originator of the tradition, and it extended to all my aunts and uncles and cousins on my father’s side of the family. My mother was complicit so I didn’t realize it was not her tradition, growing up, but rather something she adopted once she married my father. The superstition was that if you forgot to say rabbit, spoken as the first word on the first day of the month, you would have bad luck that month. Now that I have written that down, I realize how spooky it sounds, as if we were a bunch of paleolithic cave people, clinging to the earth by virtue of luck and whimsy. Whenever I mentioned this custom to friends, they would usually ask me where that came from. My only answer was “from my grandmother,” which, of course, is the short answer. Beyond that, I had no idea.
Rabbit rabbit" is a common British superstition. The most common modern version states that a person should say "rabbit, rabbit, white rabbit", "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit", "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits", "rabbit, rabbit" or simply "white rabbits" upon waking on the first day of each new month, and on doing so will receive good luck for the duration of that month. In the United States, the tradition is especially common in Nantucket, Cape Cod other towns within Massachusetts and Chester Vermont.
However, some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s. Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although, like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. This superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a "lucky" animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit's foot for luck. Some have also believed it represents jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.
So - if you haven't been a fan of 'Rabbit' up to this point - may you speak it first on the first of each month and enjoy good luck!