Rabbit's foot

Experts cannot agree why the rabbit's foot has become synonymous with good luck. The superstition that a front paw—or a hind paw— of a rabbit can bring good fortune is so old that its origins are lost in the mists of time. While it may be forgotten exactly why the furry little foot is lucky, the rabbit's foot remains one of the most common of good-luck charms throughout Europe and North America.

Those who believe in the superstition don't seem to be able to agree if the foot should be carried in the right pocket or the left. Some insist that it must be the right foot of the rabbit carried in the left pocket or the left foot tucked into the right pocket. The foot may also be secured in a purse, a makeup kit, or the door pocket of an automobile.

Wherever one carries the rabbit's foot, the general procedure is to stroke it three or four times before entering into any kind of social event, athletic contest, or gambling effort. Actors take out their rabbit's foot before going on stage or filming a big scene. Lecturers stroke their bunny's paw before approaching the lectern and making the speech that will inspire the audience. Athletic coaches likely wear out several rabbit's feet during a single season of sporting contests.

Some experts suggest that the most likely origin of the rabbit's foot bringing good luck is the gentle creature's association with the holiday of Easter, which for Christians celebrates the resurrection of Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.). In actuality, there is nothing to connect a rabbit with any scriptural references to the death or resurrection of Jesus. Christian tradition borrowed the symbols of a rabbit and colored eggs for children to hunt on Easter morning from an even older religious tradition in Northern Europe that portrayed the rabbit as the escort of the fertility goddess Eastre (Easter). As Christianity spread through Europe, the adaptation and incorporation of the rites and symbols of Eastre into the celebration of Jesus' resurrection transferred to the rabbit the dubious distinction of people attributing good fortune to the act of removing one of his hind legs and carry it on their person.

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 15, 2013 @ 10:10 am
This is the first time I've heard this legend. Most of the legends around the "luck" of the rabbits foot (here in America anyway) are attributed to African hoodoo belief's brought over by African slaves. In that case, it's related to the African belief of Rabbit being a trickster and very lucky. There is also speculation that it's based on the rabbit's running style, where the hind feet leave the ground last and touch the ground first. Since the legend also exists in other cultures, and is believed to be very old, it's impossible to know which is the true origin of the legend.

Whatever the origin, there are certain things commonly considered essential for the foot to be lucky. 1) Only the rabbit's left hind foot will do. 2) It must be trapped or shot in a cemetery. 3) You can only harvest the foot at night.

After that the requirements differ, and are often contradictory. It must be done under the full moon in some legends but under a new moon in others. The rabbit must be shot by a cross eyed man, by a silver bullet or you must cut the foot off while it's still alive, depending on which legend you pay heed too. To be lucky you must carry it in your left pocket, right pocket, left back pocket or around your neck in different legends, and must stroke it 3, or 4, times to invoke it's luck. There are even legends where the rabbits foot is only lucky while you possess it but if you ever loose it you will suffer bad luck from that point forward. Oh and let's not forget the requirement that this must be done on the 13th, Friday the 13th or a rainy night of the 13th. So many add-on requirements, so little luck.
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 18, 2014 @ 7:19 pm
I am a believer person and I believe it. Cuz I experience it and thanks for this website keep up the good work.

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

Superstitions forum