An old Italian say goes something like “Leap year, tragic year”. But setting aside superstition, the extra day we get on a leap year, the fateful 29th of February, has never hurt anyone, other than those who celebrate their birthday every four year... :)
For sure, leap years are a little out of the ordinary. And since “it's human nature to fear the unusual”, they have always started hearsay, mistrust, even fear. In reality, more than anything else, leap years are fun. Let’s just consider the series of anecdotes they have generated. You don’t believe it? For instance.
Why there is a leap year
Let’s start from the basics. A solar or tropical year, i.e. the time the Earth takes to complete an orbit around the Sun, is not exactly divisible into 24-hours days, because it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds. If we don’t add a day every 4 years, in the course of a century the calendar is off by 24 days!
Who invented it
The first to introduce the bonus day was Julius Caesar: the so-called “bis sexto kalendas Martias”, from which the name bissextile, leap year. He had already rounded the solar year to 365 days and six hours, thus his calendar also was three days behind every 400 years. Pope Gregory XIII fixed the problem in 1582 when he decided to skip forward the days from the 4th to the 15th of October, declaring leap years those divisible by 400.
The story of reverse marriage
According to an ancient Irish legend, the 29th of February is the right day to decide to marry. But there is a small detail: lady needs to ask for the men’s hand in marriage, not vice versa! A tradition born at the time of Saint Patrick, who upon Saint Brigit’s repeated requests, dedicated at least one date in the year to all the ladies waiting to receives the marriage proposal. To this date, men who received the proposal cannot back out so easily: in case of a refusal, a sort of “moral duty” calls for them to compensate the hapless ladies with gloves and beautiful frocks!
And the newspaper that comes out every 4 years
Every 29th of February in France a newspaper appears in the newsstand: the irreverent “La Bugie du Sapeur”. Since 1980, the paper prints the summary of four years’ worth of news in the daily section, and it prints in the readers’ mail the answers to questions sent in 4 years earlier. Bizarre to say the least. To make this all more romantic, all profits from the sales go to charity. Certainly not such a tragic French Leap year!
It’s the year of the frog!
In America, it’s called a “leap year”, the jumping year: its symbol is a frog, because, who can better represent the “misfortune” of having to skip three birthdays out of four? And if your birthday is the 29th of February, don’t waste your time being desperate, consider instead the people who share the date with you. Some examples? Gioacchino Rossini, the painter Balthus, even a pope: Paul III!
A party worth four-fold
If you really cannot get over having to postpone your party, try to do what they do in Anthony, Texas, where they celebrate a real leap year festival. It occurs every four years, but it’s a huge celebration! Kids who celebrate their birthday receive giant multi-layer cakes and even a sort of certificate with a mathematical compensation for the time lapsed!
Between history and legend, leap years have been strange, unique: just as we at Original Marines like them to be. We certainly do, as we have built our SS 2020 new collection on originality. Energy-packed colour palettes, irreverent and modern combinations, floral prints, macarons, polka dots and tulle to live every day an adventure full of colours, even the 29th of February! Discover it in the stores and at originalmarines.com.