The Lowdown on Leap Day

Happy Leap day everyone. Today is February 29th, the day we only get every four years. So what am I doing with my extra day? Working :(

I have never really looked into Leap Day so I thought I would do a little research (aka googling) to see what I could dig up about this day. To my surprise I found some interesting facts about Leap Day.

So what exactly is Leap Day?

Wikipedia had a great statement that detailed Leap Day as the following:

“Although the modern calendar counts a year as 365 days, a complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, an extra twenty-four hours have accumulated, so one extra day is added to that calendar to keep the count coordinated with the sun’s apparent position.”

So basically are calender is screwed. And to fix it, we just need to throw an extra day in there every four years and everything is fine and dandy. I love it.

It is not officially considered a national holiday, which is why we all have to go to work and school. However, I did find an interesting article at ThisLondon.com (full article) that said “companies in London are being urged to give staff the day off on February 29 – to help the environment.” It really is a good idea to try and make Leap Day a “green” holiday to encourage people to help the environment. The sad fact remains, one day off from work is not really going to change much for the environment. In fact, if everyone had off in the United States today, people would probably drive more. To the malls, movie theaters, beaches, you name it.

What really caught my attention in the article though, is where it mentioned that “the extra leap year day, traditionally when women can propose to men, could help to tackle climate change.” I read the part about women proposing to men and thought, not once have I ever heard of this. So once again, I went back to my friend Google and had to look into this.

What did I find?

Sure enough, Leap Day is the one day where women are typically encouraged to propose to men. Wikipedia had a paragraph that really goes into details about this:

“There is a tradition that women may make a proposal of marriage to men only in leap years, further restricted in some cases to only February 29. There is a tradition that in 1288 the Scottish parliament under Queen Margaret legislated that any woman could propose in Leap Year; few parliament records of that time exist, and none concern February 29.[1] Another component of this tradition was that if the man rejects the proposal, he should soften the blow by providing a kiss, one pound currency, and a pair of gloves (some later sources say a silk gown). There were similar notions in France and Switzerland.”

So apparently in some countries, women can propose to men throughout the entire Leap Year, while others only allow it on Leap Day itself.

So I must say to the women of the world, please do not propose to me today. I really don’t want to spend my whole weekend trying to find a pound of gold, a silk skirt and some gloves…

Happy Leap Day!

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