Today is Leap Day: February 29. It occurs every four years when a day is added to our calendar to help synchronize it with the solar year, which is 365 1/2 days, the length of time it takes the earth to orbit the sun. You got that? To me it is just a lot of numbers and that’s math. If you don’t understand it, look it up. You will find much about algorithms, the sun, Julius Caesar, and the Gregorian calendar. All I know is that we get this extra day at the end of February every four years.
If your birthday happens to fall on this quirky day, you really only have a true birthday every four years. On the other three years some celebrate on February 28 and others on March 1. In fact, I read on fivethirtyeight.com there are 15% fewer cesarean deliveries and 7% vaginal births on February 29 than on other surrounding days. Hmmmm….seems like a lot of trouble to avoid this “birthday every four years” business. I know someone who is 14, born on this day in 1960. Does she love that her birthday is on Leap Day? I don’t know, but it sure makes her unique and part of an exclusive club.
There are a few customs that swirl around Leap Day. One is that women are “allowed” to ask a man to marry them on this day. According to IrishCentral.com, this tradition began in Ireland during the 5th century when St. Patrick decreed that women could propose marriage to a man this one day in February during leap year. If the man rejected her proposal, he was required to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. Legend had it the gloves were a concession to cover the poor dejected girl’s ringless hands. But in other countries, Leap Day is not a day for love. In Scotland and Greece it is considered unlucky to marry during a leap year, especially on Leap Day, so future superstitious brides and grooms, look beyond this coming year for a wedding date if you wish for a long and successful marriage. And don’t walk under any ladders or open umbrellas indoors, either.
For many of us, though, this day offers an opportunity to take a leap. It is an extra day to try something new, set goals, or do something unusual. Some may want to jump from planes, but I have no such desire. My leap is more metaphorical and a lot less frightening. I am challenging myself to write a blog post every day for the next month, and my inspiration will come from quotes I have gathered. I’m not sure where this will take me, but I am willing to hop down this road. There may be days when I scratch out just a few words, but my objective is to write and post for the next 32 days. This is my leap of faith. Just like Springsteen wrote, I have to, “get things going” and “show some guts.” And in my heart I must trust. Wish me luck. If I don’t make it you can buy me a dozen pairs of gloves, red leather preferred.