SORE arms are not uncommon on the first day of each month as people shout 'pinch punch' and gleefully do exactly that.
This tradition has gone back centuries but where exactly does the phrase 'pinch punch' and talk of white rabbits come from?
Why do we say 'pinch punch' on the first day of the month?
For age old superstitions it can be hard to pinpoint the true origin, so for 'pinch punch' there are several theories.
Back in old England times, many people believed in witches and banishing them was very important.
Salt was thought to be a weakness of a witch – so the pinch part is pinching of the salt, and the punch part was to banish the witch.
It might have been a ritual to keep away witches, monthly or otherwise.
Alternatively, a theory from across the pond involves the first US President George Washington.
When he was president, apparently he met local Indian tribes on the first day of each month and would supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt.
This became known as “pinch and punch on the first of the month".
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Why do we say white rabbits on the first of the month?
Other phrases chucked about on the first of every month include “white rabbits” – and the words supposedly bring good luck.
Many people will say "rabbit rabbit" when they wake up on the first, before uttering anything else to bring luck for the rest of the month.
Rabbits are considered lucky animals, with rabbits feet being held for good luck in many countries.
“White rabbits, white rabbits” was recorded as far back as 1909 in the Notes and Queries book.
The quote 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."
According to the playground rules, a pinch and a punch needs to be followed immediately with the words, "White rabbits, no return" – so that you can't be pinched back.
Some claim that the term was widely used among RAF bomber aircrew during WWII, who would say "white rabbits" to protect themselves when they woke up.
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