Leap Day - Jump for Joy

Leap Day - Jump for Joy

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Leap Day. It’s almost here. We have the pleasure of having another day added to the calendar, which only happens once every four years. Folklore and superstitions abound around Leap Year, ever since Julius Caesar introduced it in 46 B.C.

I have a lady friend named, Mary, who proposed to her boyfriend on the last Leap Day, four years ago. Cheekily, he not only said “no” but gifted her with twelve pairs of gloves, which is an old Irish tradition. It seems if a woman was “turned down” and humiliated, the least the man could do was gift a new pair of gloves for each month of a year. This was to hide the “shame and embarrassment” of the lady not wearing an engagement or wedding ring. My friend Mary didn’t find the “glove gesture” very funny.

Did you know there is a town in Michigan called “Hell?” (I know this is a family paper, but I am not making this up). Every Leap Year on February 29, 29 lucky couples get married (for free) in Hell’s tiny chapel. As the minister likes to say, “When you get married in Hell, there is nowhere to go but up.” Amen.

Leap year is not always looked at positively. Some countries like Greece and Italy, claim it is “very bad luck” to enter into any kind of contractual agreement on Leap Day. Do not sign business contracts! Do not start a new job! Never get married on that day! Oh well, those countries are to “Hell and back from Michigan.”

With a population of 8 Billion, only five million people are “Leapers,” born on Leap Day. So, it seems those birthdays are rather special. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is a Leap Day World Record Holder of one family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29. Not sure how that was arranged, but the family considers it a “small miracle” and “good luck.”

One lady emailed me to say she just celebrated her 15thbirthday, gave birth to her son on her 5th birthday, and although her son is now forty, they have shared ten birthdays together. And that is why Leap Years are so wild and wonderful!

Leap Day was added to the calendar as a “corrective measure,” because the Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. It is more like 365 days, 5 hours and 48 minutes. Pretty clever of this “correction” to be implemented 2000 years ago! The “extra day” every four years keeps our calendar accurate and synchronized with Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Leap Year is another way of making up for “lost time.” Consider the extra day a gift from the Gods (or Julius Caesar) and the significance of an entire year with 366 days! In one Asian country, during a Leap Year, people try to take off the entire month of February to “reset” their “internal clock,” enjoy a month with “added moments” and not take anything “too seriously.” Which sounds like a great idea.

How to celebrate Leap Day? Let’s all jump for joy.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.

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