Today is Leap Day.
As it only comes round every four years it seems obvious it’ll have some great facts attached to it. Obviously I have looked into it and found four facts for you to impress your friends with. You’re welcome.
Of course the most famous tradition is that ladies can propose to their bloke on this significant day.
Irish folklore claims this was a deal struck between St Patrick and St Bridget declaring that women were allowed to propose on this one day every four years to rebalance men and women, in the same way this day rebalances the calendar.
Hilariously it seems that there used to be very strict laws surrounding this.
An English law dated as far back as 1288 stated that if you refused a woman’s proposal, penalties including a kiss, £1 and even in some cases a silk gown were enforced to soften the blow.
In Denmark it was the law to buy 12 pairs of gloves for rejecting a lady. This is thought to be so she had enough pairs to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring for the year to come.
Leap year birthdays are quite interesting too. In the western world you’re legally considered being born on 1st March on non-leap years – making 18ths and 21sts wait an extra day to partake in drinking, gambling etc. However in Eastern countries such as China it’s Feb 28th.
It is also rapper Ja Rule’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mr Rule.
Sir James Wilson, the premier of Tanzania in the 1860’s is the only notable person known to have been born and died on February 29th.
Sweden in the 1700s tried to cut out leap years altogether in order to transfer from the Julian calender to the Gregorian calendar. But during the Great Northern War they failed to omit two leap years (1704 & 1708). In order to catch up again in 1712 the Swedish not only had a leap day on 29th February, they had to add a February 30th in too…
But all of that aside I do think Leap Day has a special meaning. It means you get an extra day this year, so why not do something you wouldn’t normally. Put yourself out there and take a chance.
I did that today – it didn’t quite go as one would have hoped (and before you ask – no – no one needs to buy me 12 pairs of gloves) but at least I plucked up the courage to do it.
“Take a chance! All life is a chance.
The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”
– Dale Carnegie, American Writer
I took a leap.
Now I can go back into hiding for four more years…