Weird & Wonderful Facts About Leap Day

Weird & Wonderful Leap Day Facts 2

Discover More About Leap Day aka February 29th.

2016 is a leap year, which means this year we get a leap day (or February 29th as it’s commonly known).

Not getting a February 29th every year means that leap day has taken on an air of superstition, with many traditions and folklores growing around the event.

With this in mind we thought it would be fun to share a few leap day facts.

A few weird and wonderful things (we hope, but can’t promise are accurate) that you can share with your friends or use as inspiration for your own leap year fun.

Plus it’s an excellent excuse to use a picture from our library of leaping dogs. Leaping dogs, leap day, see what we did there!

So let’s see what 2016’s leap day could have in store for us this Monday.

Julian Reform. 
The leap day was introduced as part of the Julian Reform, which saw Julius Caesar realigning the calendar.

Monkey – Dragon – Rat.
In the Chinese Calendar February 29th will only occur in the years of the Monkey, Dragon and Rat.

Women Propose to Men
According to an old Irish legend, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick allowing ladies to propose to men on February 29th. When there was a lot less equality between the sexes proposals were always done the other way around so leap years gave the girls the chance to take control. It is believed that this leap day tradition was introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women, like leap day helps balance the calendar. In some place’s this has given leap day the additional name of “Bachelors’ Day”.

Gloves Hide the Single Ladies
It is said that any bloke who refuses the marriage proposal of a woman on Leap Day must pay a penalty, such as the gift of a gown or money. Amongst the upper classes of European society this penalty was traditionally 12 pairs of gloves, which would allow the woman to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

The Mysteries of the Moon
In 1504 Christopher Columbus used his knowledge of lunar eclipses to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies to aid his starving crew.

Leap Day Part 2
In 1712 Leap Day was followed by February 30th in Sweden, in an attempt to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the old style calendar.

Oscar History
29th February 1940 saw Hattie McDaniel become the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.

Nobel Winner
Also in 1940, physicist Ernest Lawrence received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco. The ceremony was held in Berkeley, California, because of the Second World War.

Leap Day Babies
An individual born on leap day may be called a “leapling” or a “leap-year baby”. In non-leap years, some leaplings (fab word!) celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while hardcore leaplings only observe birthdays on the authentic date of February 29th.

Record Breakers
People born on February 29th are all invited to join ‘The Honour Society of Leap Year Day Babies’. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are Leap Day World Record Holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29th and of the number of children born on February 29th in the same family.

Super Swimmer
In 1964, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser set a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition; clocking in an impressive time of 58.9 seconds.

Unlucky for Some
In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day. While in Greece it was considered unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on Leap Day.

St Oswald’s Day
Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day, named for the archbishop of York who died on February 29th 992. His memorial is celebrated on February 29th during leap years and on February 28th during non-leap years.

Reaching for the Sky
In 2012 the Tokyo Skytree construction was completed. The tower is currently the tallest tower in the world, standing at 634 meters high, and the second tallest man-made structure on Earth, next to Burj Khalifa.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 26/02/16

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