T H I N G

by Gilda Davidian

Happy Leap Year, friends! Here are some facts about this special day:

FACTS:

Why do we have leap years? “Because the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun in precisely 365 days, so we add a day — Feb. 29 — into the calendar every fourth year to synchronize. If we didn’t, experts say, we’d eventually find ourselves celebrating Christmas in mid-summer.” (source)

Who invented leap years? Julius Caesar introduced leap years in the Roman empire over 2000 years ago, but the Julian calendar had only one rule: any year evenly divisible by 4 would be a leap year. This lead to way too many leap years, but didn’t get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar more than 1500 years later. (source)

Leap year tradition: In the British Isles, it is a tradition that women may be the ones to propose marriage only on leap years. This tradition is said to have been initiated by Saint Patrick in 5th century Ireland (though this is unsure). Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow. In some places the tradition was tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, February 29. (source)

LINKS:
The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies
Famous Leapers
Galileo Day