Every four years there is an extra day added to the calendar, always at the end of February and it is February 29. With the seasons and astronomical events (because the Earth does not orbit around the sun in precisely 365 days) changing over the years and only in whole numbers, it has become necessary to add the extra day every four years.
So not just an extra day, but over the decades a special folk custom has developed. It started in England and Ireland hundreds of years ago. This extra day would be the only acceptable day that a woman could propose marriage to a man and he was expected to accept. In the United States it has developed as ‘Sadie Hawkins Day’, again where the female can ask a man to marry her or even there are Sadie Hawkins Dances where the ladies ask the fellow to a dance.
It was very popular around the turn of the 20th century, for special postcards to be sent relating to Leap Year.
In Anthony, Texas, it declares itself the ‘leap day capital’ and partners itself with Anthony, New Mexico, its neighbor. One of the big features is celebrating any people born on February 29, those whose birthday would only be every four years.
The special club formed of these February 29th birthdays has a membership of over 400. Those born on such a date can be termed ‘leaper’ or ‘leapling’. Recheck your family tree and see if you have any ancestors born on February 29th. There is an honor society for those born on this date.
Check also if an ancestor married on a leap day. That would be special. As it turns out, it does become a popular date for weddings, making for very special anniversary celebrations.
Another tradition for this extra day is to perform an act of kindness. When we are kind and compassionate to others, we not only feel better, we become healthier and happier over the long run. Whether it’s helping someone across the road or helping out a colleague at work, it is so easy to brighten their day and yours.
Photos: Variety of vintage Leap Year postcards.
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