You’ve probably heard of ‘pinch, punch’ for the first day of the month and people saying ‘white rabbits’ when a new month starts, but I bet you have no idea where this strange British tradition comes from.
Here we’ve found some theories about where they both come from!
Pinch Punch theories
According to some, when he was president, George Washington met local Indian tribes on the first day of each month. He would supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt. It became known as ’pinch and punch on the first of the month’.
Some others believe that the tradition originated in medieval times, when people believed in witches. Salt was meant to make witches weak, so the pinch signified the use of salt to weaken the witch, while the punch was then administered to banish the witch for good.
You may have heard people talking about white rabbits too!
But what does it mean?
— ryan atkins (@rararyan85) March 1, 2016
Well according to playground rules, your ‘pinch, punch’ should be followed with ‘white rabbits, no return’, which then means you can’t be pinched and punched back apparently!
— Rebecca Langmaid (@BeccaBarberella) August 1, 2016
A reference to ‘white rabbits, white rabbits’ is found in the ‘Notes and Queries’ book from 1909.
The entry reads: “My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.”
It was also a common belief among RAF bomber aircrew during WW2 that saying ‘white rabbits’ when you woke up would protect you from harm.
If someone does give you a pinch and a punch on the first day of the month, then don’t just punch them back. Apparently the correct thing to do, which originates from the West Country, is to respond with: “A flick and a kick for being so quick.”