So it’s February 29th and today is a chance to ‘take’ a leap on the extra day that the leap year provides. We’ve put together a few facts about 29th February According to astrologers, those born under the sign of Pisces on February 29 have unusual talents and personalities reflecting their special status – we’d love to hear from those of you born on 29th to check out this theory?
The ancient Egyptians first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn’t always match up.
But it was the Romans who first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four – 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.
Another rule was that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year … but 2000 was!
The tradition of women proposing to men in leap years began in 5th century Ireland, with St Patrick setting aside February 29 aside as the day when women had the right to ask for a man’s hand in marriage.
While leap day helped official timekeepers, it also resulted in social customs turned upside down when February 29 became a “no man’s land” without legal jurisdiction.
Queen Margaret of Scotland declared in 1288 that on February 29 a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she fancied. Menfolk who refused were faced with a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves given to the rejected lady.
A leap year poem to remember 29th February
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.