Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day, February 29th

Leap Day

Leap Day was always exciting to me when I was a kid. It just seemed cool that it was a day that only came around every four years, and then when I discovered Pirates of Penzance... wow, my love of Leap Day quadrupled.

But, then I found out that in Scotland, Leap Years, the whole year, are generally considered unlucky and Leap Year Day is a particularly bad day because it was Job's Birthday, and he cursed the day that he was born. All this Job information is according to The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore. Poor Job. I almost want to make a birthday cake in his honor. And for all of us who have to work an extra day this year. I mean really, this year we have to work an extra day! There is something wrong with that! If we have to add an extra day to the year, that just might be an unlucky day, we shouldn't have to work, we should make it a National holiday!

The fifth century Irish single gals liked Leap Day because St. Patrick gave them permission to ask men to get engaged on Leap Day only. If the man said no to the proposal, he was required to give her a gift, or pay a tax, so either way, score for them!

Anyway, we should all head out today with a petition to get Leap Day designated as a National holiday! I am sure we can make a change! You know you want an extra holiday every four years... come on. You do!

2 comments:

Soccer Dad said...

I heard that item about women proposing on the radio this morning and thought of e-mailing you about it. (It was attributed to Queen Margaret of England in 1288, though.) However Snopes is skeptical. (Or shouldn't I tell you that?)

In the Jewish (lunar) year there are leap years too. (This year is one.) A lunar year made up of 12 lunar months is about 354 days; so it loses about 11 days a year. Therefore 7 times every 19 years an extra month is added and that keeps things pretty much in synch. (There is a leap day concept too.)

Muslims do not have a correction so their years shift all around.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

I, too, have read about Queen Margaret of England starting the tradition, but I liked St. Patrick and St. Brigid of Kildare better, because they would have started about the 5th Century.

Answers.com had a long list of which calendars have leap years and why and even our Gregorian calendar has a twist, centennial years, which are years divisible by 4 must be divisible by 400. So, 2100, will not be a leap year. Interesting. And the Chinese year, which is also lunar, has a lunar month too.