• Women feel free to propose: It’s a leap year


    For the women who have waited long for their partners to propose marriage, this could be your year.

    If your guy continues to vacillate, why not turn the tables and do the proposing? It’s a leap year after all.

    But did you know that Pope Gregory was not the one who introduced Leap Year? It originated from the time of Julius Caesar, the great Roman dictator who found a solution to address astronomical inconsistencies.

    As everyone knows, the Earth takes 365.2422 days to complete its yearly orbit around the sun. Because of this inexactitude, people before Christ, who then observed a 355-day calendar, had to add another month with only 22 days every two years.

    Thankfully, Caesar in all his genius, or was it plain common sense, created the simpler 365-day Julian calendar. To make up for the extra hours, he added an extra day every four years.

    So why is there February 29?

    Another Caesar is responsible.

    According to BBC Magazine, the Lead Day, which is February 29, is the offshoot of the ego of Caesar Augustus who took over as Roman Emperor after Julius Caesar.

    “All the other months have 30 or 31 days, but February suffered from the ego of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus . . . Under Julius Caesar, February had 30 days, but when Caesar Augustus was emperor he was peeved that his month—August—had only 29 days, whereas the month named after his predecessor Julius—July—had 31,” reported the BBC Magazine. (“Leap year: 10 things about 29 February,” 2012, www.bbc.com/news/magazine)

    As Augustus made the unnecessary adjustments, August had 31 days just like July, and days were deducted from February, making it the only month with 28 days. So it was only fair that it took the additional Leap Day—thus February 29.

    Leap Year had resulted in some odd Western traditions—one of which is that women can propose marriage to men.

    According to Huffington Post, this tradition has rather vague and distant European past—particularly in Ireland and Scotland.

    It wrote: “One story places it in fifth century Ireland, with St. Bridget appealing to St. Patrick to offer women the chance to ask men to marry them . . . Another tale is focused on Queen Margaret of Scotland and a law she supposedly passed in 1228 ordering a man reluctant to accept a woman’s proposal to pay a fine or present her with a silk gown to make up for his bad attitude.” (“Leap Year Traditions Are Rich In Marriage Proposals,” 2016, www.huffingtonpost.ca)

    But Leap Year proposals vary in different European countries. “A refusal to marry by Danish men means they must give the woman 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, it is not gloves but fabric for a skirt.”

    Whether or not its origins would ever be revealed, Leap Year proposals had encouraged women to break traditional gender barriers.

    In the US, there used to be Leap Year parties from the 17th to early 19th century.

    In modern times, the twin cities of Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico, have proclaimed themselves “Leap Year Capital of the World.” As such, both cities hold a four-day festival every leap year highlighted by huge birthday parties for leap year babies.

    Other interesting events that took place on leap years include the sinking of the Titanic in 1912; the discovery of gold in California in 1848, and the proving by Benjamin Franklin that lightning is electricity in 1752. (www.cleveland.com)

    The most historical event on Leap Day was made by explorer Christopher Columbus. He was able to complete his trip to the West Indies by taking advantage of the lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504.


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