It’s here again, February 29, that special day that seems only to confuse us when we’re writing the date on our checks. Other less whimsical names for it are “intercalary” or “bissextile.” What’s the point of Leap Year, anyway, and how did it all get started?
Blame it on Caesar. Julius first came up with the idea of Leap Year way back in 45 BC. Actually his astronomer, Sosigenes, did all the math. Simply put, the Romans used a 355 day calendar which meant that the same day didn’t always land in the same season, so they added a few days. Later, in 1592 Pope Gregory XII declared leap year would fall on any year divisible by four. All this tweaking of the calendar to keep track of the earth circling the sun, and we’re left with an extra day every four years.
Given the unusual date, people developed unusual traditions. Probably the best was allegedly begun in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget confronted St. Patrick. She suggested roles should be reversed on this one special day, and women should be able to propose to men. St. Patrick agreed and St. Bridget dropped to her knee on the spot and asked him to marry her. St. Patrick apparently declined, thus putting the kibosh on a romantic ending to this story.
So we have an extra day every four years; what should we do with it? It might be a good time to do something you’d never ordinarily do. You could take a risk and share your feelings with someone you’ve been afraid to approach. You could finally start that novel you’ve been talking about for years, or visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
In a normal year we have 365 days, 5 hours and 12 seconds. This year we have an extra 24 hours. You can choose any day as your “extra” day. It just might be the very special day you take a leap!
Did you do anything out of the ordinary today? Does Leap Year hold any significance for you? Please share your thoughts- your comments make a difference for all of us!
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