Thirty days hath September, April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone, Hath eight days and a score;
Till leap year gives her one
Today is an extra special day – only seen once every 4 years!!! For some of you it is the birthday you barely get to celebrate – which some of us might be cause for the green monster as you age very well 😉 I think it should be an opportunity to do something you never ever do!!! While we all know that it is a leap year day, how many know why? I’m gonna take a quick look at that and then delve into the fun stuff of myths and traditions!!
So why do we even have a leap year??
Right so thinking caps on? Let’s explore. Firstly for those of you who still don’t know we operate on the Gregorian Calender, meaning we have 365 days (and that sneaky little quarter) The reason we have that little quarter is because our Mother Earth takes a tropical year to circle around the sunny sun. A tropical year = 365.242199 days (you see that little quarter now?)
So if we did not add one day extra we would lose nearly 6 hours from our calender in a year – and for those who don’t feel like working it out it would add up to about 24 days every 100 years!! Now, I don’t know about you, but time is already so precious to me that I don’t want to lose any more!! So bring on the 29th February!!!
How to know when it is a leap year??
To make things easy it is generally every 4 years, BUT did you know that in order for a year to qualify it actually has 3 criteria??
1. Year must be evenly divisible by 4 ie 2012 / 4 = 503
2. If the year can be evenly divisible by 100 it is NOT a leap year UNLESS…
3. The year is also evenly divisible by 400
But just to make things easier for you, here is a list of the up and coming leap years so you don’t have to go looking for a calculator!!
Shooo ok now that the brains have been worked a little, it’s time for some of the fun info regarding leap year.
- This one is probably the most heard of and known – and which some long awaiting ladies use to their advantage:
It is said that St. Patrick was approached by St. Bridget, who had come to protest on behalf of all women the unfairness of always have to wait for men to propose marriage. After due consideration, St. Patrick offered St. Bridget and her gender the special privilege of being able to pop the question one year out of every seven. Some haggling ensued, and the frequency ultimately settled upon was one year out of four — leap years, specifically — an outcome which satisfied both parties. Then, unexpectedly, it being a leap year and St. Bridget being single, she got down on one knee and proposed to St. Patrick on the spot. He refused, of course, bestowing on her a kiss and a beautiful silk gown in consolation. (about.com)
- According to English law, the 29th was ignored and had no legal satuas. Ergo a crime committed on the day was no crime at all!!
- In Scotland it is considered unlucky to be born on the 29th
- In Greece it is considered unlucky to marry during a leap year
- The longest time between two leap years will be 8 years (remember the criteria) the last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904 (1900 divisible by 100 and not 400) and the next time will be between 2096 and 2104 (2100 divisible by 100 and not 400) – Interestingly 2000 was a special year as it was divisible by 100 (meaning it shouldn’t be a leap year) but was divisible by 400.
- Astrologers believe those born under Pisces on the 29th have special talents and personalities
- People born on leap day are known as “leaplings” or “leapers”