National Treasure #47: Bunny Hug

Ah, the bunny hug – a dance craze of the early 20th century.

And it originated in Canada, right?


The bunny hug that’s a Canadian national treasure is the hooded, pull-on sweatshirt – what most people used to call a kangaroo jacket (presumably because of the pouch-like pocket in its zipperless front) and what everyone now calls (wait for it) . . . a hoodie.

Oh, the flair. Oh, the imagination.


Me, I’m sticking with bunny hug, a term I picked up from my children and their friends in Saskatoon in the 1980s, even though it caused me considerable consternation years later when I couldn’t find anyone else who knew what a bunny hug was.

Strictly speaking (and of course, we are, as always), the aspect of bunny hug that’s a national treasure isn’t the, you know, actual sweatshirt.

No, it’s the regional idiom aspect. Bunny hugs are known by that name only to Saskatchewanians and a few Albertans. And isn’t it grand to have regionalisms somewhere other than Newfoundland?


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6 Responses to National Treasure #47: Bunny Hug

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I remember the bunny hop. From the 1950s I think. Was the bunny hug in any sense similar?

  2. Love the name. I’m in favour of regional culture as along as we all remember how to get along together. Spreading the bunny hugs around might help to do that.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – It is amazing how easily things become “fighting words,” eh? You wouldn’t think that regionalisms could possible contribute to enmity between folks–they’re so much fun–but we find ways to get annoyed about anything and everything

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    I’ve just come home from the (United Church’s) Banff Men’s Conference (held this year in Canmore, of course) where I discovered, rather to my surprise, that my most intimate experiences of God (or whatever name one uses for numinous experiences) involve feeling hugged by loving arms. Even if I’m all alone. Maybe I need to buy a lot of those bunny hug things.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Well, if you’re having numinous experiences, I’d say you don’t need much else at all. Nice.

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