With all the drama going on, let me redirect you to a particular date – February 29, 2020. What do you think is strange about that date? Let me answer that for you: the rare 29th day of February. Usually, February has 28 days in a month; however, every four years, one day is added to the month in which everyone calls the “Leap Year.” Seems weird, right? Let’s dive into why we have the rare “Leap Year.”
A Leap Year occurs every four years to synchronize the calendar year with the length of time it takes the earth to orbit around the sun which is exactly 365.24219 days. To fix this problem, a day is added every four years which makes it 366 days.
Why four years, you ask? Well it’s because of the the Roman general, Julius Caesar – you heard of him right? He introduced the leap year concept over 2000 years ago. However, the Julian calendar, a calendar first used by the Romans, was later modified as we know today as the Georigian calendar. The Julian calendar had a weird rule to define what a Leap Year was: any year that’s divisible by four would end up being a Leap Year.
So what happens if you’re born on February 29? Well some say, it’s either on February 28 or March 1 that they would celebrate on non-leap years. In Hong Kong, people would say it’d be March 1, while in New Zealand, it would be February 28.
People born on February 29th are called “Leapers.” The odds of being born on that date, is 1 in 1500. Astrologers believe people born on February 29, have unusual talents like burping – Ah, how much I envy them.
February used to have 30 days, but the extra days were given to August since Caesar Augutus (aka where “August” comes from), became Emperor of Rome. He added two days to the month of August, making it 31 days instead of 28 and leaving February shortchanged.
In Russia, it is believed it would bring more freaky weather and more deaths – in a folklore, farmers believed that the beans and peas that were planted during Leap Year “grew in the wrong way”. In Taiwan, married daughters who return home on February 29, could bring bad health to their parents. To remedy this, daughters are told to bring pig trotter noodles to wish them good health and fortune. For those people don’t know what pig trotter noodles are, look below:
If you’re a woman who’s ready to pop the question to your significant other, you’re in luck because it’s on that date that women can propose to men – according to a Irish lore. Back in the 5th century, St. Brigid set aside one day so that women can propose every four years since he believed women shouldn’t have to wait that long to propose. Don’t worry, I have a special message for those of you waiting for a woman to propose, if a man refused the proposal according to a European tradition, the man has to pay with either a kiss, silk dress or twelve pairs of gloves. Oh what a time we live in.
There were interesting things that happened during the Leap Year: the Titanic sank in 1912, the 1752 was the year when Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity through lighting by his kite while flying, and gold was first discovered in California in 1848.
There’s actually a club for people who are born on February 29 – The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies, which has 10,000 members. Too bad there’s not a special club or cool necklaces for everyone’s birthday.
Pretty interesting stuff huh? Well, very rare happy birthday to the Leapers and happy Leap Day to the non-Leapers!