Leap Year Facts You Need To Know
The 29th of February is known as a leap year and only comes around every four years. It is an excellent time for brides who want to break with tradition and challenge the social norm. It is the date when they will ask their significant other to marry them.
The Future Inns Wedding Team have been delving into history to see where this interesting tradition has come from and has found some leap year fun facts you will love to know. Why do we have leap years?
So, what's a leap year? Each year, astronomical events change by a fraction of a day. This leads to calendars drifting and essentially becoming inaccurate. By adding an extra day into the year, every four years, the drift can be corrected. It happens to occur between February and March, which is why the extra day is added to the end of February.
In 1712, February 30th popped into brief existence in Sweden. Twelve years earlier, in 1700, Sweden had decided to transition to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian one. It meant that they had some extra days to get rid of to become synchronised, which they decided to do gradually, skipping just the leap days. However, the Great Northern War broke out in 1700 and proved to be a lengthy, violent struggle.
The Swedes understandably forgot to skip the next two leap days of that decade. By 1712, the Swedes decided it would be easier to revert back to the Julian calendar by adding an extra leap day on top of the normal leap day of the year. Hence, February 30th came into existence for that year only. It took until 1753 for the transition to the Gregorian system to finally occur, but February 30th was never seen again.
In the past, workers who are paid an annual salary have advocated for Leap Day to become a bank holiday. Over the years, some intelligent members of the world’s workforce have realised that they are working an extra day every leap year without additional pay. This has prompted a legitimate campaign to make February 29th a bank holiday.
Leap Day has an official cocktail, should you want to toast the 29th. It was concocted by bartender Harry Craddock at the London’s Savoy Hotel in 1928. The Leap Day Cocktail is supposed to "usher in more proposals than any other drink you could possibly mix". It is a blend of lemon juice, gin, Grand Marnier, and sweet vermouth. Shake, serve, garnish with a lemon peel, and enjoy the bittersweet flavours. It is like a marriage in your mouth!
Typically, those born on the 29 February will celebrate their birthday on 28 February or the 1st of March. But all official documents will say the 29th. How rare is it to be born on a leap year? The least common, or rarest birthday, is Leap Day. Because the day only occurs once every four years.
There are plenty of leap year birthday celebrities, too. They include rapper Ja Rule, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, American Olympian gold medalist Cullen Jones, astronaut Jack Lousma, footballer Darren Ambrose and Eastender actress Rakhee Thakhar.
While most women are happy to let their partners propose, it is not always the case. According to Irish folklore, Saint Patrick struck a deal with Saint Brigid of Kildare in the 5th Century that allowed women to propose marriage should their significant others take too long to do so.
At first, he granted women permission to propose once every seven years, however at Brigid’s insistence, he conformed to allow proposals every leap day. It is believed that Brigid then got down onto one knee and asked St. Patrick to marry her; however, he refused. He kissed her on the cheek and gifted her with a silk gown. From that day forward, any man who rejected a proposal had to pay a fine for silk dresses and gloves to cover the woman’s lack of an engagement ring. It could be a great way of getting a new wardrobe if they say no!
This tradition was also included in Scottish history when a law was passed in 1288 by Queen Margaret, allowing women to propose every four years. However, things were not that simple, women had to wear a red petticoat to warn her fellow gentleman that she was on the prowl for a husband.
The Greeks and Italians believe that marrying on a leap day will lead to bad luck. The Greeks believe that most marriages celebrating that anniversary will lead to divorce. As for the Italians, leap year is reportedly when women are erratic. The Russians, Ukrainians, and Taiwanese all believe leap years are considered unlucky times to wed or buy a house. It is thought that there will be poor weather and a greater risk of death.
Now we are confused! Before you start re-writing your plans, the Chinese believe that a leap year is an auspicious time to tie the knot. So, it's really down to you!
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