According to the census reports of 2017, almost 305 breeds of domestic rabbits are found in 70 countries. For many centuries, rabbits are considered domesticated animals. Although, there are some myths and superstitions related to them as well. Let’s find out why are rabbits’ feet lucky in some cultures and traditions.
1. What are Rabbits?
Rabbits are small, digging animals that feed on plants. They have long ears, rear legs, short hind legs, and a pom-pom tail. Female rabbits are known as does while male rabbits are known as bucks. Since the beginning of the 5th century, rabbits have been domesticated by humans. And from the early 19th century, they are preferably kept as pets. (See What is the difference between a Rabbit and a Hare?)
2. Why are Rabbits Considered Lucky?
Different tribes that originated in central Europe were connected through language, traditions, customs, and beliefs.
- One such tribe believed themselves to have descended from rabbits and hence, worshipped them.
- Moreover, Celtic tribes considered rabbits to have a close connection with Gods and spirits as they live underground in holes. Some of their cultural and religious practices are still followed in various regions of the world. Thus, these belief systems is why people believe rabbits to be lucky.
3. Why are Rabbits’ Feet Lucky?
The rabbit’s foot has been associated with good fortune for decades. It has even made its way into modern culture.
- In the 16th century, it was described as a remedy for aches and pains in pieces of literature.
- Moreover, some writers from the Southern regions have mentioned the belief of black Americans regarding lucky rabbit feet charm in the 19th century.
- According to people, the front right leg of a rabbit is considered luckier than the hind (front) left leg. And both the rear (back) legs are thought to have bad luck. Thus, this answers the question of why are rabbits’ feet lucky. (See 10 Lucky Signs On Face)
4. Are Rabbits Feet associated with Fertility?
Female rabbits are capable of giving birth every month of the year because of their one-month gestation period. This is why they have such a huge population. The process of reproducing in rabbits is known as Kindling. And because of their speed of reproduction, rabbits are seen as a symbol of fertility. Therefore, people carry charms or amulets of rabbits’ feet to help with fertility. However, it is difficult to say whether it answers why are rabbits’ feet lucky or not. (See Why Lucky Number 9 is Auspicious?)
5. What are the Rules of Catching a Rabbit?
There were different procedures among tribes according to which a rabbit must be captured.
- According to some beliefs, a person with crossed eye must capture the rabbit on night of full moon. He would then, cut the left hind foot of the animal for good luck.
- Several others say that it should be done on the day of a new moon in a cemetery and the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet. (Also read What makes the moon look orange?)
- However, according to some other people, it should be captured on Friday or on 13th of any month that falls on Friday and the foot must be cut off while it is alive.
So, it was a common belief among African-American people that if the rabbit was not captured correctly, then it will bring bad luck. Thus, hoodoo was also widely associated with it.
6. Is Lucky Rabbit Foot Real or Not?
As time advanced, it became clearer that killing an innocent animal just for their foot is not a wise or humane choice. So, in order to stop the unnecessary killing of these tiny creatures, different alternatives came in. Nowadays, the rabbit paws that are sold are not the real ones. Instead, they are made of latex, dyed artificial fur, and wood is kept inside them as bones. In this way, the belief system is also maintained along with the lives of those innocent creatures. Thus, cultural beliefs and deep-rooted fears determine why are rabbits’ feet lucky in the 21st century as well. (See Why do some men like feet?)