Travels Diary

Sailors’ superstitions: Animals who are “bearers of misfortune”

26 July 2019 | | Reading time 1 minute

Following the first article in our series on sailors’ superstitions, here is an article on the animal that brings the most misfortune on board a boat!

The Rabbit is probably the greatest taboo of sailors.

At sea, the use of the word “Rabbit” is prohibited and having such animal on board is prohibited. Just saying the name could be a bad omen. Sailors call him “the big-eared animal”.

The origin of the superstition is believed to have come from a shipwreck. The story goes that a ship sank because the “big-eared beasts” had nibbled through their cages and the hemp ropes that held the masts and secured the sailors’ supplies, as well as the caulking that prevented water ingress.

It should also be noted that in medieval times, the rabbit was attributed a demonic symbolism, which would also explain the vigilance of sailors towards it. Today, even though the depictions may have changed and our navigation tools have evolved, sailors will still not embark or pronounce the name of this animal, which is always synonymous with disaster!

What about you? Tell us about your beliefs and superstitions on board your catamaran!