Every four years we have a leap year which causes February to have 29 days rather than the regular 28 days. The 29th day has been given the title of Leap Day and has a few little traditions which come alongside this rare occasion.
Today Carelink24 explains why we have leap years and will show you some of the aforementioned traditions that occur on this special day.
Why do we have Leap Day?
A leap year, and therefore a leap day, occurs every four years. We have a leap year to ensure that the four calender seasons continue to synchronise with the solar seasons as the Earth orbits the sun.
Basically the Gregorian Calendar has 365 days in a year, but the Earth takes 365.24 days to orbit the sun. So if we didn’t add an extra day every four years then eventually the seasons would be all muddled up and June would be in the middle of Winter.
Woman propose to men
The most common and well-known tradition of Leap Day is that it is the day where woman propose to their boyfriends – breaking free from the usual tradition of the man asking the woman for her hand in marriage.
It is believed that this tradition dates all the back to 5th Century Ireland, when St Bridget complained to St Patrick that woman had to wait too long for their partners to pop the big question to them. In response to this request St Patrick made the ruling that woman would be allowed to purpose to their partners on February 29.
During the Middle Ages it is believed that if the man rejected the woman’s proposal then he would be forced into paying a penalty – usually in the form of a new gown or a new pair of gloves for his girlfriend! Apparently the gloves were to hide the shame of not being engaged!
None of these ‘rules’ are still around today but many woman do like to take advantage of Leap Day and ask their boyfriends to marry them.
Leap Year Birthdays
Of course Leap Day is just like any other day in that a woman’s due date can fall on the 29th. Babies born on Leap Day are automatically invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies – which currently has around 11,000 members.
It is believed that there are around 4.8 million people around the globe that were born on February 29. People born on this day usually choose to celebrate their birthdays either on February 28 or March 1 when it is not a leap year – although some purists stick to the tradition and only celebrate when it is a leap year.
The chances of being born on February 29 are one in 1,461 and if you are one of those born on this day then you are also given the name of a ‘Leaper’.
Leap Year Capital
The twin cities of Anthony, New Mexico and Anthony, Texas, believe that they are the Leap Year Capitals of the world. Each Leap Year they host a four-day festival to celebrate the occasion. The festival begins on February 25 and ends of the evening of the 29th with a parade and a huge birthday party for all of the Leap Year babies.
The idea was thought of by Mary Ann Brown in 1988 who proposed that the Anthony Chamber of Commerce should host a festival centred on Leap Day.
Other random facts about Leap Years in general include:
• The Olmypic Games are always held on a Leap Year
• US Presidential elections are held during a leap year
• February 29 is also Rare Disease Day
• If you work on a fixed annual wage, today is just one more day’s work than you would usually have to do for your salary.
• In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day.
• In Greece it is bad luck to get married during a leap year.
Leap Day Alarm
Use the extra day we have been given this year to purchase a personal alarm from Carelink24. Our system can help give you and your family peace of mind that help will be available if you have a medical issue or suffer from a fall in your home.
With the MyAmie Pendant – which you can wear around your neck or wrist – all you need to do is press the big red button and help will be called for. A member of the Carelink24 Care Team will contact you over the alarm unit’s loudspeaker system before contacting your emergency contacts and services.
Visit our website to find out more about our personal alarms, or give a member of our sales team a call on 0800 0076 247 today.