Rabbits and hares were considered very lucky animals as they were associated with spring and the return of flowers and other plants. Spring was also a time of fertility and so rabbits were considered good luck to be seen running through the fields. To see a rabbit running through your yard meant that it would be a good year to have children or that your garden would be especially fertile this year.
The manner in which rabbits run gave birth to the superstition about rabbit's feet. Apparently their unusual stride makes the back feet touch the ground ahead of their front feet and so the back feet were considered especially lucky.
For luck to had, however, the original owner must give their rabbit's foot away and it would be the receiver of the gift that would also be the recipient of the good fortune. If the owner kept the foot for himself, he would be visited by bad luck. If the recipient of the rabbit's foot lost his lucky charm he would also be visited with bad luck.
Animal rights activists are rightfully concerned about this particular superstition and are encouraging it to die out.
Other Superstitions for Rabbits:
- It is good luck for a rabbit to cross your path
- Seeing a white rabbit is a death omen
- Seeing a black rabbit is unlucky
- Seeing a rabbit on the way to work is unlucky
- If you dream about a rabbit it means you will be visited by misfortune
- Wearing rabbit-skin socks protects against pleurisy
- A child who eats rabbit brains will improve his or her behavior!
- Seeing a rabbit cross behind you means bad luck is on its way
- A rabbit running down the street means there will be a fire in the neighborhood
- Saying "white rabbits" on the first of each month or on the first day of a new moon will bring good luck
- When sitting around a campfire, saying "white rabbit" will make the smoke go in another direction
- To predict the coming winter, if you see a rabbit with a thick coat, expect a hard winter; a rabbit with a thin coat means the winter will be a mild one