Leap Year So Gentlemen Beware Tomorrow

‘Leap Day,’ is tomorrow, February 29th, that extra day added, nearly every 4 years, to our modern Gregorian Calendar, thus making our calendar year 366 days instead of the normal 365.

‘Leap Years,’ are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around our sun, which takes approximately 365.242199 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to circle once. Our Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in any single year, so we need to add a day on nearly every 4 years, otherwise we would lose almost six hours off our calendar each calendar year. Were this correction not made, every 100  years our calendar would be short approximately 24 days.

Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years over 2000 years ago into the Julian calendar, but the rule:- “Any year evenly divisible by 4 would be a leap year,” lead to there being too many leap years, and was therefore corrected by the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, more than 1500 years later.

According to an old Irish legend, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick allowing women to propose marriage to men, on leap days. This was to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way as to how Leap Days balances our calendar.

So gentlemen be careful out there tomorrow, as according to tradition men was expected to pay a penalty, such as the gift of a new dress, 12 pairs of gloves or an offer of substantial money, if they refuse a marriage proposal from a lady on ‘Leap Day.’ The intention of the ‘gift of gloves,’ is that the woman could wear the gloves to hide her embarrassment for not having an engagement ring on show.

So Gentlemen, keep in mind that while behind every successful man there may be a woman, behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.


2 comments to Leap Year So Gentlemen Beware Tomorrow

  • Michael

    Have a Happy Leap


  • Michael

    The day of the damsel

    It may be handy having an extra day to catch up with yourself, but there’s nothing attractive about seeing single men cower with fear once every four years as the leap day approaches. So who’s to blame?

    Julius Caesar has a lot to answer for. Until he came along people lived according to a 355-day calendar – with an additional 22-day month every two years. But it was complicated; festivals started slipping into different seasons. So, Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes, was tasked with simplifying the calendar and came up with the 365-day year with an extra day every four years to scoop up the extra hours (each year is, technically, 365.242 days long). Thus, the 29 February was born.

    The Ladies Privilege, attached to 29 February, is believed to date back to the fifth century, when St Bridget complained to St Patrick about how long women had to wait for a proposal.

    Scotland is said to have passed a law in 1288 allowing women to propose during leap years, as decreed by Queen Margaret of Scotland (even though she was only five at the time – and living in Norway). Tradition says any man turning down a woman’s hand would have to pay a fine of up to £100, or be obliged to buy a silk dress or gloves for the one spurned.

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