PINCH AND A PUNCH FOR THE FIRST OF THE MONTH AND NO RETUUUURRRRRRRNNNNNSS. Many-a-child the world over has declared these words as they casually assault their peers unaware of the origins of the term.
Like many traditions, the origins are not clear however there are some pretty interesting ideas of how this may have come about?
One theory is that it originates from superstition during the times that the public believed in witches. The pinch represents a pinch of salt which would weaken the witch before punching the witch to banish them. Salt was a common household item used to ‘deter witches’ and if someone suggested there was too much salt in a meal, they would run the risk of being accused a witch.
A second theory is in the 1700’s US president George Washington would meet with local Indian tribes on the first day of each month. During these meetings he would provide the tribes with a punch drink which included a pinch of salt.
In the 1900’s playground rules adapted. Children are naturally unforgiving when applying the physical pinch and punch in quick succession before saying “white rabbits, no returns” and taking off at high speed. ‘White Rabbits’ can be dated back to 1909 in a British folklore titled “Noted and Quires”.
Many see it unlucky if you don’t say ‘white rabbits’ when you wake up and if participating in ‘pinch and a punch’, this is traditionally applied before midday.
While none of this really makes sense and in this day and age is not recommended behaviour… the start of the month brings a fresh month, new start, perhaps a new season or the month of something you’re looking forward to.
Do you have anything special happening this month? Did you participate in pinch and a punch for the first of the month as a kid?