Manage episode 177290163 series 1356232
The Rabbit's Foot So why are rabbits thought to be lucky? One explanation has to do with their ability to jump, and it’s the reason some folks carry a rabbit’s foot – it represents leaping into the future and moving forward in life. Others carry a rabbit’s foot to ward off arthritis and rheumatism 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. Hunters believed that the rabbit's foot would bestow the surefootedness of the Rabbit. 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. Most of the legends around the "luck" of the rabbits foot (here in America anyway) are attributed to the 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. It could not be any old rabbit’s foot. The rabbit had to have been killed during a full moon. Also the person who killed the rabbit had to be cross-eyed. So many add-on requirements, so little luck. Rabbit’s foot as a good luck charm was particularly popular among gamblers. Many gamblers to this day would not dream of gambling if not a rabbit’s foot charm is safely tucked away in their pocket. In the world of theaters the rabbit’s foot was (and still is by many) considered very auspicious. Many actors and actresses would keep a rabbit’s foot in their make-up kit. Before entering the stage they would kiss it, or rub the rabbit’s foot on their hands or on their face. The rabbit’s foot would help them eliminate stage fright. It would also help them remember all their lines. There is also an old superstition that the rabbit’s foot can cure rheumatism if you keep it in your pocket at all times. Still today there is a huge market for rabbit’s foot charms. They are sold mostly on key-chains. As greater parts of our population are fighting for animal rights, less people carry a real rabbit’s foot for luck. The Origin of Night and Day https://www.mpm.edu/wirp/ICW-138.html#night One time Manabush (the Rabbit) was traveling through the forest and came to a clearing on the bank of a river. He saw the Saw Whet Owl perched on a twig, but it was almost dark and Rabbit could not see very well. He said to Saw whet, "Why do you like it dark? I don't like it to be dark, so I will make the daylight." Then the Saw whet said, "If you think you are strong enough, then do it. But let us have a contest to see who is stronger and whoever wins can have it the way that he likes." Then Rabbit and Owl called all the animals and birds together. Some wanted Rabbit to win so that it would always be light. Others liked the dark and wanted Saw Whet to win. The contest began. Rabbit began repeating "Light, Light," while Owl kept repeating "Night, Night." If one of them make a mistake and said his opponent's word, he would lose. So Rabbit kept saying "Light, Light," and Saw whet continued "Night, Night." The birds and animals cheered on their heroes. Finally Owl accidentally repeated Rabbit's word "Light" and he lost the contest. Rabbit decided that it should be light, but he also decided that night should have a chance for the benefit of the loser and all of the animals and birds he represented. This pleased everyone. (Adapted from "Some Menominee Indian Folk Tales," 1974, Manitowoc County Historical Society Monograph 23: 6-8.) http://web.archive.org/web/20080725025320/http://www.menominee.edu/Culturemain/2002Pages/MenomineeLegends.htm#Origin%20of%20Day%20And%20Night--%20The%20Legend%20of%20Rabbit%20&%20Owl One day long ago Rabbit was walking through the forest. He saw Owl sitting on a branch of a tree. There were bits of light coming through the trees but it was hard for Rabbit to see. Rabbit asked Owl why he liked it so dark. Rabbit told Owl he didn't like the dark and he was going to make it bright like the daylight. Owl told Rabbit that if he was powerful enough to do it. Owl told Rabbit that they should have a contest to see who could make it dark or light all the time. Rabbit and Owl called together all of the birds and animals to witness. Rabbit and Owl explained to the animals what they were trying to do. Some of the animals wanted Rabbit to win but didn't know if they wanted it to be light all of the time. Some of the animals wanted Owl to win so it could stay dark all of the time. The contest began. Rabbit repeated "Light, Light" and Owl repeated "Night, Night." The trick was not to repeat the other's words. If they repeated the wrong word they would lose. Rabbit and Owl kept on saying their words. The animals were cheering them on. All of a sudden Owl said "Light" and lost the contest. Rabbit was the winner and he had his wish for daylight. He decided to let there be night as well for the benefit of all the animals. This made everyone happy. http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/nat_amer/post/htmls/popups/be_rabbit.html Rabbit and Possum The Possum and the Rabbit gambled together to see if it should be dark all the time or light all the time. Possum kept singing a song that it should be dark, and he sang this over and over. Rabbit kept singing his song that it should be daylight. Along toward morning, Rabbit began to get a little bit tired. Possum said, "You might as well give it up, Rabbit. It's going to be night all the time." Well, they argued about this. Then Possum said to Rabbit, "Suppose you did win and daylight came to stay. Why, children would abuse you. They would chase you into a hollow log and take a stick and twist the fur off of you." Rabbit said, "I don't care. They'll have lots of fun playing with me anyway." Now, while they were arguing, Rabbit kept singing, "Daylight, daylight, daylight!" And when Possum looked around, there he saw the daylight was coming. He grabbed Rabbit's mouth to make him shut up, and split his upper lip. That's why Rabbit has a split lip. (As told by Nancy Stand to Truman Michelson, 1916; after Knoepfle 1993) News Now last week we had the Easter Bunny Episode, but with some follow up this week because of articles in the news: IN AUSTRALIA, IT'S THE EASTER BILBY . Rather than celebrate Easter with bunnies, Australians are increasingly ushering in fall (which is when Easter falls in the southern hemisphere) with the Easter Bilby. Also called rabbit-bandicoots, bilbies are Australian marsupials with long, rabbit-like ears. Things began looking grim for bilbies two centuries ago, when new predators and diseases were introduced into their habitat. Then, European rabbits—an invasive species whose population really took off when a few were released more than 150 years ago so they could be hunted—drove them out of their natural habitat, until only a few thousand of the animals remained. But in the 1980s and '90s, Australians began doing more to protect the bilby. A book called Billy The Aussie Easter Bilby popularized the concept of the Easter Bilby, and the establishment of the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia educated Australians about the ecological harm that rabbits wreak. Today, you can find chocolate bilbies in Australia around Easter time, and some chocolate companies even donate a portion of their proceeds to organizations that save the animals. http://mentalfloss.com/article/94180/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-easter-bunny Since this episode is about a rabbit that looks like a Hare, it is suiting that we have a news article about a hare! The white-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus townsendii, is also known as the “mountain hare.” These jackrabbits turn white in winter and are often called “snowshoes,” although the white-tailed jackrabbit is actually a much larger species than the true snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). Whitetails were historically common in mid- to upper-elevation sagebrush-grass sites and meadows. Ancestral Shoshone made extensive use of the white-tailed jackrabbits for food and fiber. The species declined due to heavy grazing and increasing shrub dominance from the 1870s through the early to mid-20th century. Today, white-tailed jackrabbits are being observed moving into areas of northern Nevada that have become dominated by native perennial grasses after wildfire. On April 21, Kent McAdoo, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, will talk about white-tailed jackrabbits as an indicator species of improving rangelands in Northern Nevada. He will be the evening speaker at the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group’s 18th annual dinner and meeting at the Western Folklife Center. The event will start at 6 p.m. and feature music by Southwind, dinner, auction and drawing and McAdoo’s talk. The cost is $15 per person and children younger than 12 are free. Those wanting to attend should call 753-9496. The Elko Daily Free press. http://elkodaily.com/lifestyles/mountain-hare-may-indicate-improving-rangelands/article_820d2c5e-85bc-5865-aaca-ac29038518d6.html Peter Cottontail can continue hopping down the Bunny Trail, but trying to sell him -- or even give him away -- along a Louisiana roadside could get you jail time if a bill proposed by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, becomes law. Rep. Horton's House Bill 214 would make it illegal to "sell, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, or transfer any domestic rabbit on the shoulder or roadside of any state, local, or interstate highway or at any festival in this state." A violation could result in a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both. The bill specifies that each occurrence constitutes a separate offense, and you know how rabbits multiply. The jail term may be a stumbling block, especially given the focus of the session on reducing the prison population. http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2017/04/roadside_rabbit_retail_outlets.html Plant of the Week: Wild Poppies Word of the Week: Broom
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