Leap Day or February 29 is a day that comes only once in four years and has always held a unique charm with many myths and traditions being associated with this date. We take a look at the things that make this day special!
Women propose to men
According to an old Irish legend, St Bridget coaxed St Peter into allowing women to propose to men every four years on Leap Day, in order to break the traditional role of men proposing to women. It’s also said that a man is not supposed to reject a woman’s proposal on this day and if he does, he has to a pay penalty of money or buy her twelve pairs of gloves. Interestingly, St Bridget proposed marriage to St Patrick, who turned her down and gifted her a silk gown instead.
Leap Day Baby celebrations
The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies, a free membership club, invites leapers (people born on February 29) to a gala where they all celebrate their birthdays once in every four years. They’re not the only ones as many others also organize special programs and parties for leapers so that they can ‘officially’ celebrate their birthdays!
Leap Year Festival
Anthony, a sleepy farm village in Texas, calls itself the ‘Leap Year capital of the world’ and organizes the Leap Year festival, where leapers from all over the US come to the village to enjoy birthday celebrations, including hot air balloon lifts. It’s believed that two local residents, both leapers, thought up this way to celebrate their birthdays and also bring some recognition to their hometown!
The luck factor
Although women are allowed to propose to their sweethearts on this day, it’s considered inauspicious to tie the knot on February 29 or on any other day during a Leap year. Many to-be-married couples and expectant mothers shy away from this date, even though it’s a fairly unique date!
Most leapers were thought to be slow learners or even evil for being born on Feb 29. Not only children, but also saplings planted on this day were considered to ‘grow the wrong way’. These myths probably shot up due to an extra day being added to the month and with legend stating that such tampering ‘could cause problems’.
Leapers make for fascinating company as you’d always want to know how they celebrated birthdays and what their official documentation says. Leapers, unlike the rest of us, can choose to celebrate their birthdays on either February 28 or March 1. Most countries, like Taiwan, recognizes Feb 28 as the official birthday on non leap years, while some countries consider the year of birth while issuing licenses. In other cases, a leaper born before noon on Feb 29 is considered to come of age on Feb 28, while a leaper born post noon is considered to come of age on March 1.