Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012 - It's A Leap Year!

I didn't want to miss this opportunity on the last day of a snow less February to mention a few folk lore "facts" on leap years.  After all we won't have another one until four years from now.

There was a lot mentioned about leap years on the inter-net today and I thought it would be fun to incorporate a few of them on the last blog for this month.  They are funny, and we need some laughter, because if the" weather lore" from my last blog is right, we are not going to have a great summer. Maybe we'll have two dismal winters.  Let's hope not!

With 2012 comes the gift of an extra day.  24 hours for our calendar to catch up with the sun - and for us to catch up on a zillion things which we will need a zillion years.  While February 29 may feel like your average day, its once, every- four- years status has long linked it to myth and lore.  Here are some for example:

Astronomy Lesson

Despite what our elementary teachers told us, a year isn't really 365days.  Our planet actually takes 365 1/4 days to revolve around the sun.  These six additional hours each year add up to an extra 24 hours over four years, at which point we add a day to our calendar in order to keep us in sync with the sun.  Without leap day, annual events would slowly shift seasons - eventually Christmas would be celebrated in July.  It might as well be because we know Jesus wasn't born in December anyway.

One Glitch

While the first leap day was likely observed by the Egyptians, Caesar is credited for incorporating a leap year into the Julian calendar in 46 B.C.  However scientists noticed that annual events were still shifting over extended periods of time.  while the calculation of 365 1/4 days for the earth to lap the sun was close, the true figure is actually about 11 minutes short of that and this tiny miscalculation caused a day of discrepancy every 128 years.  Pope Gregory XIII came to the rescue in 1582, ruling that leap year would be skipped every four centuries to fix the snag.

Farmers' Fears

Though the point of a leap day is to keep our calendar aligned with nature, hundreds of years ago people thought that messing with our months would throw Mother Nature for a loop.  Farmers worried that the change would lower crop yields and sicken livestock.  In fact, a Scottish saying declared that "leap year was never a good sheep year."  Lore also held that leap day babies were unruly and tough to raise. (Maybe we should ask J. Lo, whose twins were born on Feb. 29, 2008 - if this adage proves true.)

Chances of Being Born

Rapper Ja Rule and actor Antonio Sabato Jr. are among the roughly 187,000 lea pings in the U.S. and 4 million worldwide.  Long - expired leap lings include poet John Byrom, bandleader Jimmy Dorsey and writer Dee Brown.  The likelihood of being born on February 29 is roughly 1 in 1,500, and on leap day 2012, (today) approximately 10,000 American babies will enter this exclusive minority.

A Modest Proposal

As the picture in the blog reveals leap year allowed women to propose marriage to men.( that unsuspecting man in the picture is in big trouble.)  Four hundred years ago women were not allowed to propose marriage to men - except on leap day.  While the source of this switcheroo isn't 100 percent clear, folklore traces the tradition to fifth - century Ireland, when St. Bridget supposedly complained to St. Patrick that gals were sick of waiting around for their procrastinating men to pop the question.  Patrick consented to a leap day role reversal and by some accounts, also declared that men who declined the proposal would be fined! ( If I were those men I'd run and hide.)

This was just  a few interesting 'facts' that were brought out on the inter-net.  Times have changed drastically.  Today woman don't wait for leap year to take the lead, any day will do just fine. 

Well, what will you do with your extra day in February? Or should I say 'what did you do' as this day is almost over.  I'm happy to say, I was able to complete this blog. And above all else, let us thank Jehovah and praise him, the giver of life and time.

This is Raven - as the crow flies!


  1. Great info. I spent my leap day at Disney. For the first time ever the Magic Kingdom was open for 24 hours - 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. We only did 15 of those 24 hours.

  2. Welcome home Sparrow and Ironman. You used your leap day time well. 15 out of 24 hours at the Magic Kingdom was a remarkable feat. I'd even say "magical".