Happy Leap Day

February 29, 2012

Leap year happens every 4 years. How did it come about and how can you mix it up today?

Happy Leap Day!

Yes today is that extra day in February that was tacked on in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the season. February 29th occurs every four years. How did leap years come about?

Well, the calendars used today are based on early Roman 10 month calendars used by Romulus. These calendars started in March, but in 700 B.C., Numa Pompilius added January and February to reflect the lunar calendar, making February the last month of the year. Then, in 45 B.C., Julius Caesar introduced Leap Year by adding one day to the last month of the year, which at the time was February, but this ended up leading to too many Leap Years.

When the Gregorian calendar was introduced about 1,500 years later, a different formula was used to find the Leap Year and gives us an average year length of 365.25 days. If the year can be evenly divided by four, evenly divided by 100 and evenly divided by 400, it is a Leap Year!

So what fun is there to do on Leap day?

Ask your guy or a guy out! The tradition of women asking men to marry them dates back to fifth century Ireland. Queen Margaret of Scotland in 1288 ordered that if any man was proposed to on Leap Day and refused, he could be fined a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves that he had to provide for the rejected women. Unpopular women would fund their entire wardrobe by proposing to a bunch of men on Leap Day.

SupermarketGuru suggests switching the shopping and cooking roles today – whether it’s the woman or man, or you or your partner who shops or cooks, switch it up today! Make it a fun tradition (hey it only happens every 4 years) and enjoy the day.

And happy birthday to all you “leaplings!”