Monday, April 1, 2024

Is it April Fool's or Rabbit Rabbit?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Happy April First, everyone, however you celebrate! Are you a Fool-er or a Fool-ee? I did not grow up in a pranking household. My parents were fun and interesting in many ways, but they were not jokers. And my brother, ten years older, was way too busy with important grownup things to prank a little sister. Imagine my adjustment when I married the oldest of FIVE kids!! I wonder just what my darling hubby has in store for me this year…

Looking back over our REDS April 1st post, my absolute favorite is this one, from 2022. Rhys rocks the prankster!


Hare in the Forest by Hans Hoffman, c. 1585

But as we have been inundated with Easter bunnies of all stripes the last few weeks (months?) another first of the month tradition has been on my mind. Why do people say Rabbit Rabbit, or a variation thereof, on the first day of every month? I had never even heard of this until I began to see it on Facebook, usually accompanied by a darling bunny. There are all sorts of theories as to where this good luck superstition originated. It is apparently cross-cultural, and possibly ancient, but there is a strong English tradition that seems to date to the early 20th century.


Still Life with Rabbits by Johann Georg Seitz, c. 1879


Mystery fans will be delighted to know that Trixie Belden was a believer! Here, from 1962's The Mystery of the Emeralds: 

Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, "Rabbit! Rabbit!" She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. "I've finally done it!" she cried [...] "Well, ever since I was Bobby's age I've been trying to remember to say 'Rabbit! Rabbit!' and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you've said another word, your wish comes true." Trixie laughed.

How about it, Reds? Do you say Rabbit Rabbit on the first of every month for good luck? And has anyone played, or been played, a good prank today?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Two things. I TRY to say rabbit rabbit. But I always forget.

As for April Fools, I seriously am not a fan.

My little brother Chip ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, got me by acting like everything was fine, and then in the middle of a sentence, he’d say: “OH NO THERE’S A SPIDER ON YOU!”

I fell for it every single time. For years.

Later,  I went off to college and then into the world. And one day he called me, as he sometimes did, and chatted like everything eas fine, and then in the middle of a sentence, he  said “OH NO THERE’S A SPIDER ON YOU!”

And I shrieked.

Reds and readers, remember–he was on the PHONE.

Not a fan. 

RHYS BOWEN: I do always say Rabbit, Rabbit when I remember. I learned from my great aunt who lived with us and had all sorts of superstitions she was always quoting at us. It’s strange because I’m not a very superstitious person usually!

JENN McKINLAY: I had never heard of saying “Rabbit Rabbit” until I read our former Sunday JRW poster Kaye Wilkinson Barley mention it in her blog. Needless to say, I have never managed to say it. 

As for pranks, with the hooligans out of the house, we are a prank free zone. And while I do miss (not really) having fake vomit, cockroaches, and ants surprise me when I least expect them, I think I prefer it all as a funny memory. 

HALLIE EPHRON: rabbit rabbit?? I had no idea. I do knock wood whenever I feel myself bragging. 

My Jerry loved a good April Fool - one year he announced, as I was waking up, that there was a fleet in the toilet. After I finished scoffing and went to look, there were indeed about a half dozen paper boats floating in the toilet. He of course did it for laughs… not for scares.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hallie, that is an exceptional prank. All the idjits filming themselves doing nasty things for Tik Tok and YouTube need to take a lesson from Jerry. 

I don’t recall doing anything particular as a kid. My mother was NOT a prank target. One thing I loved doing as an adult, and I taught the kids to do, was the French tradition: try to attach a paper fish on someone’s back for poisson d’Avril. There’s something so utterly ridiculous about it; really, you can see why it was created by the same folks who brought us Absurdism.



As for Rabbit, rabbit, I never heard of it until we discussed it here! I would love to know the origin of the superstition - does it go all the way back to pagan times, as the bunny symbolism of Easter does?

LUCY BURDETTE: Hallie, I love Jerry’s prank! My parents enjoyed a good joke. My mother would sew my father’s pajama pant legs together–we all thought that was hysterical. The Key West Citizen used to have an amazing April fool’s first page. It really took us aback and took a while to figure out it was all made up.

Yes to Rabbit Rabbit!

DEBS: I love Jerry's prank, and Julia's poisson. Lovely silliness. How about it, readers? Are you a Fool-er, a Rabbit Rabbit, or both? And if you say Rabbit Rabbit, was it a tradition in your family?


AND ONE MORE THING! We have a date for our our next REDS & READERS LIVE!! Join us April 25th, 2024, at 5 p.m. EST!!! Mark those calenders now, and we can't wait to see you then!

56 comments:

  1. I never knew about "Rabbit Rabbit" until I read it here . . . usually I forget about it until it's too late . . . .
    We are not big on April Fools pranks . . . however, the silly things are really cute . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I learned about Rabbit Rabbit from Trixie Belden. Even now, 30+ years since I first read that book, I've never managed to actually remember it on the first of the month once. We'll see if I do this month.

    As to pranks, I'm not creative enough for them. And I usually forget so I fall for any that someone pulls. Thankfully, they are usually pretty benign, and I don't mind the laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the laugh at my expense, that last sentence should read.

      Delete
    2. Lisa in Long BeachApril 1, 2024 at 3:20 AM

      Me too! Learned it from Trixie, never remember to do it.

      Delete
    3. Obviously another reason I should have read Trixie!

      Delete
  3. I learned about Rabbit, Rabbit only from Facebook! I'm not much of a trickster, although I have a brother-in-law who says things with a straight face and sometimes I fall for it and ask, "Really?" Like Hank with her brother, I never learn...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lisa in Long BeachApril 1, 2024 at 3:22 AM

    I’m just happy it’s not April Fools that Purdue is going to the Final Four. Boiler Up!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I learned about rabbit, rabbit from Facebook and no I don't say it and not a fan of April fool jokes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I never heard of rabbit, rabbit until Facebook. Meh.
    I am not a big jokester although I wouldn't mind a benign joke on April 1. I think Hank's little brother had a good one going. It could only work if one has a dread of spiders.
    When Jonathan was little and Irwin got up early for work every morning, I thought that the best April fool's joke would have been to switch the underwear into the other's drawer. But I chickened out because early morning chaos would have made my morning too much work. I was too lazy to do it.
    Debs, you haven't told us about the pranks that your husband pulls on you. Inquiring minds want to know.
    Hallie, Jerry's prank was hysterical. My only question is, who had to remove the fleet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, he just usually tells me silly news stories. I've learned to roll my eyes.

      Delete
  7. I've never been a fan of April Fools pranks. My dad, who was the king of practical jokers, took great pleasure in them, though. Thankfully, my husband doesn't, and I'm not venturing out today, so I feel safe in my Fool-free zone.

    As for rabbit, rabbit, I'd never heard of it until recent years when several of my Facebook friends always post it. Considering that it takes a couple cups of coffee and an hour or so to become conscious enough to realize what the date is, I've not picked up the rabbit routine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I never heard of "rabbit rabbit" until a writer friend started using it on FB each month. I don't say it, though, mostly because I don't think of it. As for pranks, my older brother used to get me with silly pranks on April 1st. They were always benign. He'd tell me something strange and then when my eyes widened, he'd say "April Fool!" But I think the most delightful prank I ever encountered was watching an April 1st TV episode of "This Was The Week That Was," when the program filmed a "documentary" on Italians harvesting the spaghetti trees in Italy. It was so believable! I still smile thinking of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was looking up April Fools I read that was originally shown on the BBC in the UK. So many people remember that!

      Delete
  9. Like others, I had never heard of "rabbit rabbit" until I saw it on Facebook.
    And our family was not one for jokes any time of year, let alone on April Fool's Day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. So sorry I will be missing the next REDS AND READERS LIVE. I will be on my final few hours on a gruelling 16-hour flight to Singapore!

      Delete
    2. You are going to spend some time on the West Coast first, right? When do you have to be packed and ready? I am excited to hear about your trip!

      Delete
    3. Well, I have 2 trips. I am in Vancouver-Seattle-Vancouver from April 8-17.
      Then back home for a few days before heading back to Vancouver on April 22. The Singapore flight leaves Vancouver on April 24, arriving 7 am April 25 (7 pm Ontario time).

      Delete
    4. Oh. I did not realize it was 2 separate trips. I know that you usually pack lightly. How long will you be in China? Will you travel with just a carry-on?

      Delete
    5. Carry-on only for both trips. I fly back to Vancouver on May 5, back to Ottawa on May 8.

      Delete
    6. We want to hear all about your trips, Grace. Keep us updated!

      Delete
    7. And I want to know how you can go for so long with only a carry on, Grace?! — Pat S

      Delete
  10. My father used to do cute April Fool’s jokes when my bother and I were kids. The one I remember falling for more than one was waking up for school and he would tell us we had a snow day and didn’t have to go to school (we lived in Maine where school days were daily common, however, we would fall for these “jokes” when there was no snow on the ground… he would say things like, “it’s strange but there is snow in [another town] so everyone gets a snow day today!” Man were we excited and jumped for joy (and I my mind would be full of ideas for how I would spend my day off!). The whole April Fools concept really lost its appeal for me as a kid and I’m not one for pranks as an adult.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I checked social media this morning before coffee and learned the London Eye had been dismantled, complete with photos. April Fool! I am so gullible.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dorothy from WinnipegApril 1, 2024 at 7:54 AM

    I learned ‘’rabbit rabbit’’ from Trixie too! My father was a great trickster and always played tricks on us on April Fool’s Day. His last trick was on April Fool’s Day in the 1980s. It was the day he passed on 🥲

    ReplyDelete
  13. I learned "rabbit rabbit" from JRW's own Ann Mason and see it every month in Louise Penny's newsletter. Two fine women can't be wrong, so I try to remember to say it, too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. NPR radio does an April Fool's Day joke every year and it's usually very funny. Looking forward to it this year.
    Rabbit, Rabbit. What a cool tradition - but have never heard of it. No one has ever mentioned it in our family or community. I wonder where it started?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, NPR's stories have fooled me a few times, such as the one where the Boston Celtics were going to pronounce their name "Keltics"

      Delete
    2. Will have to check out NPR today!

      Delete
  15. I only learned about Rabbit, Rabbit on Facebook about 10 years ago. I've been mostly the foolee on April Fools jokes, although I have played plenty of pranks of my own, just not usually on the first of April. In the college dorms, we did a lot of pranking. On our birthday (my twin lived in the same dorm) our "friends" moved our beds out of our rooms and sent us on a treasure hunt for them. We engineered an elaborate prank on another friend that ended with him outside his room reading a long letter that advised him if he opened the door, water balloons would fall on thumb tacks on top of his bed.

    I worked the front desk of a hotel for 4 years when I was in college and after, and we had many regular guests who came to Portland on business. We goofed around a lot and my co-workers and I played pranks on one guest who was really a lot of fun. Our last big prank was having him "arrested" in the lobby by a singing telegram fake police officer. He loved it after he got over the initial shock. When I quit that job, he took me out to dinner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that sounds like such fun Gillian! You are a prank master:)

      Delete
    2. Yes, you are winning the prank master award today, Gillian!

      Delete
  16. I first came across "rabbit, rabbit" on Facebook. I never remember.

    Hate the personal pranks - but some of the elaborate stuff you see on the web from Google or other companies is funny.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I first heard about 'rabbit, rabbit' here on JRW. I have actually remembered to say it a few times, but I really don't see the point. Although, with any superstition, is there ever a point? I haven't played a trick or been tricked myself in several years. If I could think up something good I would do it. When I always had the radio on in the morning way back when - school closings, you know - we could count on hearing some outrageous news, that were really pranks, of course. Fun things, not mean things.

    ReplyDelete
  18. April Fool’s Day when I was little was marked by the rubbery eggs and bacon and the plaster of Paris sugar cubes I served my father every April 1 for breakfast for years…and his wonderful shock and surprise each and every year! He always came back with”shoe’s untied” and I would look each and every time…even when wearing MaryJanes. Be foolish for at least part of today and smile. Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rabbit, Rabbit. I belong to a writing group on Facebook that introduced me to the concept. I try to remember, but usually don't. No pranksters in my family, so April 1st has always been a rather calm day! Happy new month, Reds.

    ReplyDelete
  20. For some reason my husband learned it as white rabbit. It has never caught on with the rest of us. We have done fairly benign April Fool’s jokes from time to time, but it isn’t a big tradition. The worst one, and the one the adult children take the most delight in, is the time they put a rubber band around the kitchen faucet sprayer so when I turned on the water, I got blasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenda, I read that white rabbit is also said, also just "rabbits."

      Delete
  21. I learned about Rabbit, Rabbit in the dorm freshman year of college. I tried to say it then, but haven’t since I graduated those many years ago.

    I can’t remember any real life pranks for April Fools Day, but I do enjoy things like fake news stories on the radio and special retail promotions. In this age of alternative facts, I wish some of the things I hear on the news were pranks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I said "Rabbit rabbit" for the first time ever this morning. Do you have to say it to another person, or do the dogs count? I'm sure they wondered where the rabbit was. We'll see if I ever remember to do it again... I do like the rabbit pictures people post on Facebook, though, especially the paintings.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Deborah, only rule about “rabbit,rabbit” I’ve ever heard is: first words said before hopping out of bed. Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete
  24. I’ve never heard of Rabbit, Rabbit! I feel so deprived….. growing up with 5 siblings, 4 of them brothers, there were plenty of pranks on any given day. But the April 1 prank I most remember was the year my brother came home from his early morning paper route and set the kitchen clock, which we lived by, an hour ahead. Then he rousted us all out of bed and told us we we were late. My dad rushed off to work, my mom hurried us through breakfast and out the door, only to have the neighbor kids we walked with to school with act like my siblings and I were nuts when we knocked on their doors. I think it took my dad quite a while to see the humor in the situation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, I'll bet he was cross!! Made for a good story later on, though!

      Delete
  25. For your consideration: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/rabbit-rabbit

    ReplyDelete
  26. Happy April's Fool Day. Growing up as an only child, I seem to recall fool's day jokes at school if april's fool day fell on a school day?

    And saying "rabbit, rabbit" is new to me. I learned about this somewhere several years ago.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  27. Debs, I love the rabbit paintings you included! I just looked it up, and in the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit is a sign for longevity, peace and prosperity. And of course, it's long ben a symbol of fertility and abundance in western cultures. Maybe that's the "Rabbit, rabbit" wish?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I never did "rabbit, rabbit". When I was a kid, my parents and brother would say that something was on me or a string was on my clothes. I used to tell my mom that I accidently put sugar in her tea.

    When we got a male boss at the bank, the other women used to prank him. Once they rearranged the furniture in his office, and another year, they all hid so he thought he and I were the only ones in the office. I don't really miss all the jokes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO agree. Not that funny to make someone uncomfortable.

      Delete
  29. My sister the chef just texted me that she's thinking about moving to the south of France for three months, amd would I come visit.
    Great! I replied.
    April fool, she wrote back.
    I will never learn.

    ReplyDelete