Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Squirrely Day that Only Comes Around Every 4 Years!

Yup, you guessed it! Today is February 29th! Happy Leap Year Day!!!

As some of you may already know, I have a minor obsession with holidays, weird holidays, and general histories and fun fact about abnormal days that occur in our human existence. I never got these stories growing up, but now thanks to the wonderful powers of the almighty interwebs, HUZZAH! Information widely, and worldly available!

Most everyone does know the reason behind leap year. But, jut in case you live under a rock, but happen to have internet access and are reading my blog, According to my trusty wiki:

"In the Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, most years that are evenly divisible by 4 are leap years. In each leap year, the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a period of 365 days is shorter than a solar year by almost 6 hours."

Yes, indeed, most everyone in the US of A knows this little bit of info as to the why of the extra day in the month of Feb. But, has anyone ever wondered if there were some crazy traditions that surround this day? Why, yes, I sure do!!! Here's some interesting tidbits to amuse you for the day. You can only do this once every four years, ladies!

"In Britain and Ireland, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been claimed that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, this is dubious, as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century. Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow. In some places the tradition was tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap year day, February 29, or to the medieval (bissextile) leap year day, February 24.

According to Felten: "A play from the turn of the 17th century, 'The Maydes Metamorphosis,' has it that 'this is leape year/women wear breeches.' A few hundred years later, breeches wouldn't do at all: Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—fair warning, if you will."

In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on the bissextile leap year day, February 29, and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves.

In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman's proposal on leap year day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.

In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year."

Also some info about people with birthdays on Feb. 29th:

"A person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leaper". In common years they usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 or March 1. In some situations, March 1 is used as the birthday in a non-leap year since it is the day following February 28.

Technically, a leapling will have fewer birthday anniversaries than their age in years. This phenomenon is exploited when a person claims to be only a quarter of their actual age, by counting their leap-year birthday anniversaries only. In Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance, Frederic the pirate apprentice discovers that he is bound to serve the pirates until his 21st birthday rather than until his 21st year."

So, if you have been waiting on that oh, so special guy to pop the big question and are getting restless, today is your day to give it a shot! Hey, the worst that can happen is you'll either end up with a kiss, some money, or spanky new threads if he refuses you. Not too shabby!!

And, if you happen to be a Leapling, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Be glad you aren't a Pirate sworn to servitude, especially on my ship...  


Fun Fact Info taken from wikipedia:

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