We celebrate President’s day, Valentine’s day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Mother and Father’s Day, but where is good ol’ Hallmark when it comes to commemorating Leap Year. Where is the fuss over February 29th, which should be special, as it only rolls around every four years?
I was born on February 28, but my sister arrived in the wee hours of March 1, 1960 during a Leap Year. My mom said that other mothers in the hospital, who gave birth on the 29th, begged doctors to change the date. Apparently in Scotland, it is unlucky to be born Leap Year Day. Since we are part Scottish, my sister and I could have been in for inauspicious times.
However there is more likely a link with my Norwegian ancestry, like some stat showing the Nordic women give birth more often in late February. I am no mathematician, but statisticians will love this little known fact. A Norwegian family from Andenes holds the official record of number of children born on February 29. Karin Henriksen’s daughter, Heidi was born the same year as my sister, and her sons Olav and Leif-Martin followed in 1964 and 1968 respectively. Calculate those odds!
According to legend, February 29th is also the one day of year when women can propose to men but hey, in the 21st century, any day is good for a liberated gal with gumption to propose.
Many famous people were born on Leap Year. In 1692, the English poet John Byron, inventor of a system of shorthand, was born. Jimmy Dorsey, legendary saxophonist, conductor, songwriter, composer and bandleader, was born in 1904. In 1916 Dinah Shore, actress, singer, talk show host was born.
Astrologers swear that those born under sign of Pisces Feb. 20th – Mar. 20th have unusual talents and personalities. That fits, I am quirky as they come.
On a more serious note, February 29, 2012, twenty-five European countries coordinated by EURORDIS will mark the fifth international Rare Disease Day. Under the slogan “Rare but strong together” patient organizations from more than 40 countries worldwide unite to heighten public awareness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBVug-GVLg0
I attempted to figure out the mind-boggling logistics of calculating Leap Year, which has to do with 60th day in Gregorian calendar. We have one extra day this year, 366 instead of 365, which is great if you are old and retired but not so cool if your are employed because February 29th falls on a Wednesday, which means an extra day of work. Can you deduct an extra day of work from taxes?
Leap year allows our Gregorian calendar to remain in alignment with the Earth’s revolution. It takes a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 6 seconds, or about 365.242199 days. It becomes even more complicated when I tried to figure out how Chinese, Jewish, Iranian, Islamic, Baha’i, Hindu and Ethiopian Calendars calculate Leap Year.
So let’s stop right there and leap into March, which brings us one day closer to spring! Oh yeah, and happy birthday little sister