It comes only once in four years, and it’s already time! If you weren’t fascinated with the concept of leap day as a kid, were you even a kid? To find out that a year is technically 365 days but actually 365 and one fourth day was cute enough, but then to be told that since you couldn’t put a quarter day into the calendar, so they decided to four quarters together and create a single day every four years was beyond fascinating. If you were anything like us growing up, you were probably wondering you “they” even were. Who comes up with these things? But all of that aside, leap day, as the 29th of February has come to be known, is actually quite ‘famous’ for some other reasons too. The day is immersed in myths, old beliefs, weird superstitions, and whatnot. Let’s check some of them out.
So while it’s not that big of a deal these days, long, long, long ago, it was quite scandalous for a woman to propose marriage to a man. So much so, that a quaint little tradition was started where apparently, a woman could propose marriage to a man on leap day and it was okay!
2. Taking the gloves off!
This one’s kind of a continuation of the previous one, but weird enough that it deserves it’s own heading. Apparently, if a man refused a woman’s proposal on leap day, he had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves as a punishment! You might not believe this but there were actually laws regarding this back in the olden days too. The reasoning behind this, they say, is so that the woman could hide her bare, no-ring-to-show-off-here fingers and save herself the embarrasment of having been turned down. Of course, it was slightly different based on which country was involved. In Finland, for example, the punishment was not gloves, but the man having to buy the woman enough cloth to make a skirt. We’re not too sure about the logic behind that one, but it’s amusing either way.
3. Capital fun
Did you know there is an actual “Leap Year Capital of the World”? The US town Anthony is that esteemed (and self-proclaimed) spot, and even celebrates by holding an actual festival every four years on Leap Day.
4. Bad luck?
Several countries believe that the entire leap year is just plain old bad luck, and therefore nothing celebratory or auspicious should be done during a leap year, especially marriages. The people of Greece and Italy believe that marriages are doomed. Russia and Taiwan believe these years bring death. Scotland believes it’s a bad year for livestock. Makes us kinda scared about 2020, to be honest.
Babies born on the 29th of February are fondly known as Leaplings, and it said that they are all invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies – seriously, we’re not making this up. It’s an actual thing.
Hope you have a great Leap Year!