EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 'LEAP DAY'
February 29th – it rolls around once every four years, an extra day that we admittedly don’t put a lot of thought into. So, we decided to do the research so you don’t have to!
Why do we have a Leap Day?
Okay, time for a quick history lesson –
- It takes the Earth approximately 365.242 days to orbit the sun, which is why every four years we need to add an extra day.
- The extra Leap Day was introduced into the calendar under the rule of Julius Caesar. Prior to this, astronomers had developed a 355-day calendar, with an extra 22-day month observed every two years.
- Seen as too complicated, the astronomer Sosigenes came up with a 365 day calendar, with an extra Leap Day every four years.
- One of the most well-known traditions of February 29th is women proposing to men on this date. This tradition is believed to stem from Irish history, when St Bridget is said to have complained to St Patrick that women have to wait too long for their suitors to propose. So it is said that he allowed a single day every four years for women to propose to men – February 29th.
- Following this, it is also said that men have to pay a penalty if they refuse a proposal. Tradition dictates that if a man refuses a proposal from a woman on February 29th, he must buy her 12 pairs of gloves. This is so women can wear the gloves to hide embarrassment of not wearing an engagement ring.
- People born on February 29 are known as ‘Leapers’ or ‘Leaplings’. There is a society that has been especially created for Leaplings - The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies
- Leap years have been thought of as unlucky by some cultures – It Scotland, it used to be thought unlucky to be born on Leap Day, and in Greece it is considered unlucky to be married on a Leap Year, especially on Leap Day.