I’ve recently read a quote that read “Lucky rabbit’s food come from unlucky rabbits” which got me thinking, why a rabbit’s foot is considered so lucky? So i decided to look into it, and i’m more than happy to share this useless information with you.
Here’s how it all started.
From ancient times, people have associated animals with good luck, a belief that is rooted in a concept called totemism. Totemism , which was before Darwinism, held that every single tribe evolved from a different species of animals. To worship its animal, tribes killed their ancestral animals and created totems with their amulets. This should come as no surprise as even today, we can meet remains of totemism in our everyday life. For example, this is the reason why sport teams have mascots or why government symbols include hawks and doves while Wall Street has bulls and bears. So, what about the rabbit’s foot? (the article continues after the ad)
Well, even though we don’t know the exact origins, it was the Celts prior to 600 BC, who first associated rabbits with good luck (actually it was the hare, but a lot of Europeans confused hare with rabbit). And the reason why they got to this conclusion is quite creepy actually.
Because the animal was spending so much time underground, Celts believed it was in secret communication with the underworld. Because of this “secret communication”, they believed that the rabbits were given information that humans weren’t allowed to have. In addition, because people are born with their eyes closed while rabbits are born with their eyes wide open, the Celts believed that the animal was carrying wisdom into the world. The strongest association with good luck and prosperity though, came by the rabbit’s fertility (remember when we talked about How On Earth Did We Come To Associate Bunnies With Easter?). Due to that, the one who possessed a totem made by any part of the animal, was assured of good fortune.
But why did we end up with the foot in particular?
Folklorists claim that ancient civilizations often used the foot as a phallic symbol, therefore totems with foot were preferred since they fostered fecundity in women.
And now you know!