Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Past and Present

Today is Leap Day, which only comes once every four years as everyone knows. I always saw it as a day I was glad not to be born in, since Leapers have to choose either February 28th or March 1st as their birthdays on non-Leap Years. I do not personally know anyone who was born on a Leap Day, so I am not sure if the common feeling shared by them is one of annoyance, pride, or both. It is probably amusing at times to claim to be younger than they are because of their actual birthdays being celebrated once every four years. It must also be a nuisance dealing with government agencies when Leapers use their true birth dates. I would not relish that.

I just found out that in Irish history, Leap Day was designated as the day that women could propose to men, and if a proposal made on this day was rejected, compensation was made to the scorned. I actually believe that this was a very good idea at the time, especially since women were expected to wait for proposals from potential suitors, or have their parents arrange marriages on their behalf. Rejection of these proposals did not leave any of these women empty-handed either, which must have helped to soften the blow. The common penalties were multiple pairs of gloves, gowns, or just money. I think that if I lived during those times and made a proposal to someone who rejected me on Leap Day, I would have been able to move on well enough.

Leap Days in the modern age should be days when we continue to do things we would usually never do. If I lived near Disney World or Disney Land, I would be there all day because the amusement parks are open for 24 hours today. Perhaps leaping off a building, armed with a parachute? Well, I won’t be doing that this Leap Year, but perhaps I will do something unexpected in honor of the day. Why not?

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