In ancient times, it is said. the two saints Patrick and Bridget came to an agreement allowing women to propose to men, instead of the other way around, once every four years on this special day,
The main madness of leap-year day is that associated with the old Irish legend – which be history that two saints Patrick and Bridget came to an agreement allowing women to propose to men, instead of the other way around, once every 4 years on this special day, in a move aimed at balancing more traditional male and female roles, just as the leap-day of balances the calendar.
Some places have dubbed leap-day as Bachelors’ Day, with any who refused a woman’s proposal on the day expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money. Many European upper class societies have a tradition dictating that men refusing such requests on that day must purchase, for the lady in question, twelve pairs of gloves, that she might hide the embarrassment of no engagement ring on her finger.
In medieval times there actually were laws governing this tradition. Leap Years come around to keep our calendar in alignment with planetary revolutions around the sun. 365.242199 days are taken in the earth going round the sun. meaning that an extra day must be created every four years to maintain the equilibrium.
Otherwise, our calendar would be 24 days out within a century. Ancient Romans were aware of the anomaly, adding an extra month every few years in order to maintain correct seasonal change patterns, but in 45BC Emperor Julius Caesar introduced his Julian Calendar – in the extra day added every 4 years on February 24, because February was the last month of the year at that time.
Believe it or not, there was even, at one stage, a February 30 in Sweden and the Soviet Union, resulting from an error with calendar conversion in the 18th century. The early 20th Soviet revolutionary calendar had the date included through an attempt to make weeks only five days, and months a standard 30.
1700 saw Sweden, at the time including Finland, planning to swap from Julian to Gregorian calendars, so what in the Julian WAS a leap year was not in Sweden. A decade of confusion followed before 1712, when the Julian calendar was restored, because TWO leap-days were added, meaning that February 30 came into being.
February 30 existed in Russia after the Soviet Union introduced a revolutionary calendar in 1929, featuring five-day weeks, 30-day months intended to improve industrial efficiency by avoiding the regular interruption of a non-working days at weekends, but by 1940 the old tradition of resting on a Sunday had become so popular once again that the seven-day week was restored.
There are many odd things about leap-days, especially for those born on February 29th, as they only have official birthdays once every four years, something featured on the news yesterday with the story of the 11 years old boy, born on the 28th, reaching that birthday a day before his father, born on the 29th. This is but one of many such tales, associated with this most unusual day.