Manitowoc Public Library's Teen Programs, Events and Collections
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Happy Leap Day!
Leap Year occurs about every 4 years making the year 366 days long instead of 365. With each leap day comes some traditions:
St Oswald’s Day
Leap Day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on February 29 during Leap Years and on February 28 during common years.
In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day, just like Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.
Women propose to their men
According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman's proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.
This reminds me of one of my favorite movies: LEAP YEAR! I have watched this movie multiple times - if you haven't yet or even if you have - check it out to rewatch it! Amy Adams and Matthew Goode do an excellent job in this movie - I love Matthew Goode's accent!! I'll admit I'm a sucker for accents!