Did you realise that 2020 is a Leap Year? Bringing with it a 29th day in February. It’s not just there to catch us out, and make you think “Am I actually going to get paid for going to work that day?”. It’s there to synchronise our calendar year with the astronomical period.
The ancient Egyptians realised that the solar year and the calendar year did not match up. It actually takes the earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to travel round the sun. Over a period of centuries an extra day was added to the calendar, to make up the difference. The Gregorian calendar set in motion only having an extra day every 4th year. It was the Romans who designated the 29th February as ‘Leap Day’.
2020 being a Leap Year is not the only calendar oddity. Printers of diaries and calendars have been despairing at a change this year to the May Day Bank Holiday. Originally it would have occurred on Monday 4th May. Instead it has been changed to Friday 8th May to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
If you were born in a Leap Year, technically you only get to celebrate your birthday once every four years. On the other years you have to choose whether to celebrate early on the 28th February, or go late on 1st March. This does cause issues, especially around big birthdays like turning 18! Astrologically speaking, those born on the 29th February (Pisces), are deemed to have unusual talents, and personality traits that celebrate their unique and special status.
Leap Years are more well known for a tradition that says a woman may propose marriage to a man on the 29th February. It is thought this custom derived from Ireland in the 5th century; when St Bridget complained to St Patrick about having to wait for the man to propose. St Patrick apparently relented and set aside this one day allowing the tables to be turned.
There is supposedly a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland quoting a fine of a single rose if a marriage proposal was refused by a man. This resulted in the proposal tradition being restricted to the Leap Year’s February 29th special day.
There are a few celebrities that have taken advantage of the Leap Year proposal tradition. Elizabeth Taylor proposed to her second husband, and Kristen Bell to Dax Shepard. Others females have proposed marriage, but outside of that Feb 29th date – Jennifer Hudson and the singer Pink for example. Allegedly Zsa Zsa Gábor proposed to all nine of her husbands!
So, ladies, are you ready to step up to your loved one, and in the words of Beyoncé “put a ring on it?”Tweet