Today is February 29. It has a rather odd ring to it because it doesn’t come around every year. Today is a bit special because it’s Leap Day. This happens to be a Leap Year which means we get an extra day. I had never really thought about it until this morning. I was talking to the Third Son while he was eating breakfast and telling him that it was Leap Day. As I was explaining it I got excited about the thought of having an extra day. This is like a bonus day to make something of, enjoy, and make count.
I never really gave Leap Day much thought so I decided to look it up. If you want to know the science behind it National Geographic does a great job explaining it. There are also several traditions that go along with celebrating Leap Day. I had no idea! In fact, the traditions and folklore surrounding this day go all the way back 2000 years when Leap Day was introduced by Julius Ceasar.
Here are a few things I did not know:
On this day, women are to propose to men.
According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years.
This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.
In some places, leap day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day.
In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates thatany man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.
People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are Leap Day World Record Holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.
In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day, just as Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. Greeks consider it unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on Leap Day.
Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. His memorial is celebrated on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during common years.
One of my very best friends got married on Leap Day so is celebrating an anniversary today. I’m sending a shout out to this sweet couple right now! And I’m glad they are not Greek because I think they are a very LUCKY couple!
While I love reading all these traditions and tales, I like my spin on this day. It’s not very often in this busy, never enough hours in a day or days in a week society, to have some extra time or an extra day just fall in our laps.
I say let’s really celebrate today. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Make it a beautiful extra day in your year and not waste a single second of it!
HAPPY LEAP DAY!