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The media bombarding about Coronavirus or COVID-19 these days is practically impossible to escape. Nevertheless, I tried diverting my attention by reading about other subjects, such as the mystery behind the Leap Year.
Planet Earth’s tour around the Sun actually takes 365.25 days, not 365. Therefore, every four years, the second month has an extra day called Leap Day. In other words, February 29th is a surplus, and to be born on a day like this is definitely special.
According to the History Channel, only five million people have been born on this day, making the odds equivalent to 1 in 1,461 babies.
On this year’s leap day, Newsweek published an interview with a few leap babies–known as leaplings–all of them over thirty years old, who shared their life experiences. They all agreed that they prefer to celebrate their regular birthdays on February 28th instead of March 1st.
But on their real birthdays, they try to make it more special. They also agreed that people’s jokes about their age are foolish and somewhat annoying. Would you like to be treated as a ten-year-old the day you turn 40?
Actually, now that I think about it, I wish I was a leap baby to escape the big 40 later this year!
However, the mystery of the Leap Year around the world transcends birthday celebrations. For example, an Irish legend from the fifth century says that St Patrick, motivated by St Bridget of Kildare, established the 29th of February as the day for single women to propose marriage to their boyfriends–assuming they were procrastinating or simply playing dumb.
If the boyfriend refused, he was fined either with a kiss or with buying an expensive item of clothing, usually hand gloves to cover up the engagement ring-less hand.
In Greece, some people consider leap year bad luck, especially for weddings fearing those unions will end up in divorce or death. Therefore, Greeks avoid getting married, baptizing kids, signing contracts, buying or selling property, and even embarking in long voyages.
After reading the latter, I counted the years back by four until the beginning of the millennium and I realized that I got married on a leap year, 2008. Thank God that superstition doesn’t apply in America, otherwise, my husband and I are doomed!
Thank you for reading and sharing.
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