2016 has a gift for us. February 29 – one extra day. It’s Leap Year!!
Here are some fun things I learned about leap year:
- If you are born on February 29 you are called “leaplings” or “leapers”.
- The reason for a leap year is that the earth takes a little longer than one year to travel around the sun. Impress your friends knowing that it actually take 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds! So over the centuries we added an extra day occasionally to account for this.
- The Romans were the first to designate February 29 as leap day but it wasn’t until the 16th century we began to include a leap day in years only divisible by four – 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.
- Another trivial rule is no year divisible by 100 is a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1800 and1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was.
- Feb 29th isn’t the only extra time added to the calendar. In 2008 an extra second was added to the end of the year.
- And what about women proposing to men during a Leap Year? The legend is St Brigid in Ireland complained to St Patrick that it just took too long for men to propose, so St Patrick decreed that during a leap year women could take the initiative.
- In Denmark, where leap day is marked on February 24, folklore tells that a man who turns down an offer of marriage customarily pays the refused woman with 12 pairs of gloves, while in Finland, it’s fabric for a skirt.
- And women beware that you need to give fair warning to potential suitors by wearing red petticoats on the day of the proposal.
- But in Greece, people believe it is bad luck to get married in a leap year.
- You can also impress your friends by telling them that leap year is also known as an intercalary or bissextile year. Big words always help – that is if you pronounce them correctly.
- Odd weather patterns often occur in leap years – that has been true in Ohio this year. In Russia, farming folklore says beans and peas planted in a leap year “grow the wrong way.” Scottish farmers believe leap years are not good for crops or livestock, thanks to the old proverb: “Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year.”
- So what are you going to do with this one extra day of life this year? Let’s do something positive. Let’s take a LEAP of faith this year.
Write a letter. Renew a friendship. Learn something new. Read something inspirational. Serve someplace. Spend extra time in prayer, bible reading or your journal. Take a walk and breath in God’s air thanking him for life and an extra day to glorify him.
What will you do to celebrate Leap Year?