Ode to the Leaplings!
It's that special time of the decade again where we all get an extra opportunity to 'Carpe Diem.' Whether you spent the day blazing new trails or revising old plans, here are a few of our favorite fun facts brought to you by our friends at Winnipeg Free Press about Leap Year!
- Julius Caesar is said to be the "father of leap year." Ancient Egyptians created the basis for the modern-day calendar.
- Anthony, Texas, is the self-proclaimed Leap Year Capital of the World. In 1988, the chamber of commerce in the little town on the border between New Mexico and Texas voted to sponsor the Worldwide Leap Year Festival and Worldwide Leap Year Birthday Club. Partiers celebrate with a parade, hot-air-balloon rides, a carnival and a gathering of people born on Feb. 29. To learn more about the festival go to www.leapyearcapital.com.
- Greek superstition claims that bad luck will come to couples that marry during a leap year. Allegedly one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.
- Leap day is also when women were once officially allowed to step outside of tradition and propose to their beaus. According to legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick in fifth-century Ireland about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. St. Patrick's solution was to allow women one chance that only came around every four years to take the initiative. In 1288 Scotland supposedly made the tradition a law and any man who declined a proposal in a leap year had to pay a fine ranging from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Today North Americans call this tradition Sadie Hawkins Day, invented by Al Capp in his cartoon strip Li'l Abner, but there is debate over whether it's Feb. 29 or Nov. 15 -- the date the cartoon was first published.
- The chances of a leap birthday are one in 1,461 -- long odds for getting the short end of the stick. Imagine waiting four years for your real birthday and hearing endless jokes about being three when you're really 12.
- The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904 and it won't happen again until 2096 to 2104.
- There were five Fridays in February 2008 -- the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between 1904 and 2096, leap day occurs on the same day of the week every 28 years, so the last time February had five Fridays was in 1980 and next time will be in 2036.
- According to global statistics, there are about 4.1 million people worldwide born on Feb. 29.
- Norway's Henriksen siblings are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The three siblings were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi Henriksen, 1960; Olav Henriksen, 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen, 1968.
- The Keogh family has three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland in 1940; his son Peter Eric was born in the United Kingdom in 1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in the United Kingdom in 1996.
- If you're really interested in 'Seizing the Day,' February 29th is the only day that Disneyland is open 24 hours!