Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leapin' Lizzards!

What do the composer Gioacchino Rossini and 4-time All Star Al Rosen, have in common? They're just two of many who were born on February 29!

"Leap Day" is February 29, which is an extra (intercalary) day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a normal year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.

Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BC, Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore. For example:

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 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.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the only verified example of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 is that of the Keogh family. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland on February 29, 1940, while his son Peter Eric was born on the Leap Day in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1964. His daughter, Bethany Wealth, was, in turn, born in the UK on February 29, 1996.

If today is your birthday, well then, Happy Birthday!


Babs said...

Gosh, I'd forgotten that this year is Leap Year. Thanks for all the great facts about Leap Day.

Pondside said...

I wanted to do something grand with my extra day, but alas, I'll be spending it at work, as on any other day.

Fete et Fleur said...

How fun! Thanks for the history lesson. I've always thought it would be strange to have been born on February 29th. It would feel as if I didn't exist all the other years. I guess there are advantages. You would stay younger if you only counted your legitimate birthdays.



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