El Conejo de la Suerte
The Rabbit of the luck
The Lucky Rabbit
Aqui esta el conejo de la suerte,
Haciendo reverencias con su cara de inocencia
Tu besaras al chico a la chica que a tu lado esta.
Here it is the rabbit of the luck
Making reverences with his face of innocence
You will kiss the boy or the girl whom you are next to.
Here comes the lucky rabbit,
He is showing reverence with his innocent face.
You will kiss the boy of the girl closest to you.
Pablo learned this song in his hometown of Pamplona, Spain when he was about ten years old. Although he does not remember exactly who taught him the song, he knows that he learned it from a group of peers during lunch one day at school. He said the song is pretty common, and that most kids learn it around the age of ten, as this is when kids begin getting interested in the opposite sex.
The way the game is played is that a group of kids, generally no larger than ten, sit in a circle in boy girl order with right hand facing upwards in the palm of the person to the right of them (their left palm is under the hand of the person to the left of them). As they start singing the song, someone starts the clapping chain by slapping the palm that is face up in their left hand with their right hand. Then that person does the same thing to their neighbor etc. until the song ends. The last person to be slapped gets to kiss anyone of the opposite sex that is sitting in the circle. The game is played for however long the players wish to play.
According to Pablo, rather than being a reward it was generally considered really embarrassing for the person who had to kiss someone else. Also, because it was up to the individual to choose whom to kiss, it was often revealing of who had crushes on who, and kids could be quite brutal if the crush was not mutual. Despite this, Pablo said that it was one of his favorite games because it was fun to see people embarrassed and it was fun. Kids would often play it in public parks or anywhere where there wasnt direct super vision by adults.
Pablo believes that the games origins are related to the Spanish tradition around Easter where young adults in their late teens and early twenties would buy women bunny rabbits (generally chocolate or stuffed animals) as gifts as a way of asking them out on a date. While it is still occasionally practiced in modern times, it is generally considered an outdated tradition, as dating is not as formal as it was in the past. Furthermore, in general, the motif of a rabbit generally represents fertility as rabbits are very reproductive creatures. Therefore in the context of a kissing game, it makes sense that the lucky animal is a rabbit as opposed to some other animal like a snake.
It does not come as much of a surprise that this game is popular with children of that age group in Spain, as in the United States games such as spin the bottle where someone must spin a bottle in the middle of a group of boys and girls and kiss whoever the bottle stops on (as long as they are of the opposite sex). It seems that children in the age group of 8-12 are just beginning to become aware of inter-gender interaction of adults, and are themselves beginning to experience sexual urges. Kids of this age also yearn to be treated as adults, and will thus often mock adult behavior to feel more mature. Kids also like to rebel against authority at this age, and in general the fact that games such as the luck rabbit and spin the bottle are generally considered taboo and forbidden by adults, makes the games even more attractive to children.
Direct Quote from Pablo:
Around age 10, like every other kid in Spain, when we started getting interested on the opposite sex. Then, we would play a game call the lucky rabbit. All the kids (boys and girls) in a circle, would play hand games singing this song. Whenever the song stopped, whoevers hand had just been slapped would have to kiss the girl or guy closest to him/her. Rather than being a reward, it would become really embarrassing for the person that had to kiss someone else. It was one of my favorite games because it was fun to see people embarrassed and it was fun. The game has its origins in the Easter tradition of the Easter Bunnies. Whenever some young adult would get a bunny rabbit as a gift, he would get it from a woman and they would go on a date. It is interesting that later on it became a kid game.