If you grew up in New England, chances are you've heard of this odd "rabbit" tradition or you may even partake in the "rabbit" folklore yourself. Decades ago it was a bit more popular but folks are still practicing it today. It is simple, harmless, and certainly cannot hurt. It entails nothing more than uttering the word "rabbit" as the first word out of your mouth on the first day of each month.

Simply roll over, stretch out your arms and whisper the word "rabbit" along with your first morning yawn. You can say "rabbit" as you shuffle your way to the bathroom or into the kitchen for your first cup of coffee.

Just as long as you don't let any other words pass through your lips first. Some folks tape a note to their alarm clock on the last night of the month so the word will be blaring at them in the morning as a new month dawns.

The first word every month

Years ago some people would get a bit down in the dumps if they forgot to utter "rabbit" as they started a new month. Those who were really superstitious looked forward to a month of good luck if they got that word out before saying anything else on the first of the month. It is not that easy to remember to say this word before you utter anything else when you wake up in the morning. According to New England Living, there are a few variations of this "rabbit" legend.

Some say the correct way to partake in this superstition is to repeat the word "rabbit" twice.

A simple "rabbit, rabbit" covers a few of the variations of this tradition. Edie March, who sounds like a real New Englander, wrote an article about this strange superstition that has its roots in New England.

Odd variations of the superstition

March learned about this from her own family, who practiced saying the word on every first day of a new month.

Her grandmother's tradition included walking downstairs backward on the first day of the new year. While doing so, you chanted "rabbit."

How this "rabbit" folklore came to be is still a mystery. After March published her article, it didn't take long to discover that it is still a tradition in some families. It was also discovered that people in New England are not the only ones who have heard of and practiced this particular superstition.

Across the pond it is 'white rabbit'

Across the pond in the U.K., their tradition is to say "white rabbit" on the first day of every month. It is their variation of the "rabbit" superstition found in New England. Or maybe New England's version is a variation of the British version.

Getting more convenient over time?

The comments that March's article collected also offered up some variations to the ritual that goes along with uttering the word "rabbit" on the first day of the month. Some folks believe just saying this word some time during the 24 hours that make up the first day of the month is all that is needed.

It seems the tradition morphed over time by dropping the part of this superstition that dictates this being your first word each month. It got more convenient, allowing you up to a full day to remember to say the word "rabbit." Perhaps that had to do with the problem people had of remembering to say the word before anything else.

Give it a twirl, three times

One commenter on March's article learned of the tradition from her 4th-grade teacher back in 1969. The teacher had a different ritual that went along with the word that she learned from her college roommate. While saying "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," three times, you would also turn around three times while shouting out the word.

Others remembered learning to say "rabbit" into "thin air" as the first word to pass their lips upon waking up on the first day of the month.

This appears to be the original way of participating in this tradition.

'Something wonderful happens' within 72 hours

So does it work? Some folks swear by it. Janice commented on March's article back in February. She said that she notices "something wonderful happens" within the first 72 hours after belting out "rabbit" as her first word each month. She also said she likes the challenge of remembering to say this when she wakes up. She would sometimes wake up at 4 AM and spout out the word, then go back to sleep.

Superstition referenced in 1909 scholarly journal

People Magazine published an article on this superstition and while the exact origin of this folklore is unknown, they were able to trace it back as far as 1909.

It was listed in the 1909 "Notes and Queries," which was a scholarly journal. That journal describes the ritual as saying "rabbit' one time as the first word spoken on the first day of the month.

Roosevelt wouldn't miss it

According to People, this superstition is thought to bring you good luck and one very famous name in history took part in this tradition every month. That would be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was known to be a very superstitious man.

Roosevelt would say the word '"rabbit" on the first day of every month before he would say anything else. They found this referenced in a news article from 1935. The article also said that the president "would not think of omitting the utterance on any account."

Whatever way you say it, it can't hurt

It is a superstition based in New England folklore, but it can't hurt to give it a try and utter "rabbit" as your first word each month.

If by chance you forget to say this as your first word, you can use the "rabbit, rabbit" version or twirl around three times saying the word three times, one time for each spin. These are the versions that give you the entire day to remember.