Classes and Recipes, Just For Fun

Legends of Leap Day

Photo of Leap Year Cards

“Today is an ephemeral ghost… A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not “exist.” In mundane terms, it marks a “leap” in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up! But this day holds another secret—it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability… A day of unlocked potential. Will you or won’t you? Should you or shouldn’t you? Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability!” ― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration.

Photo of Tornado Damages

Hello Everyone! Well…Leap Day around here certainly began with a jolt…if that’s what you want to call tornado sirens at 3am! Sadly, severe storms have cut a path of destruction across the Midwest. Luckily, we were spared but our neighbors to the East are still digging through debris and the death toll continues to rise. This Leap Day has certainly given us something to remember it by. (Are you prepared for disasters in your community? Have you signed up for a CERT class yet? For more information, click here.)

It seems as though many will remember 2012 as the time when Leap Day ushered March in like a lion..we can only hope she exits like the proverbial lamb. It may, however, surprise you to find that this day has long been associated with an interesting group of tales and mythology. We may want to give consideration to the Scotts belief that February 29th is the unluckiest of days. Not all Leap Day lore is solemn, for more cheerful tales keep reading….

Leap Year Traditions

According to legend every four years a woman may ask a man to marry her. The story goes that in the 5th century, St. Brigid, concerned for the plight of single ladies, complained to St. Patrick (around the same time he was driving the snakes out of Ireland…he was a busy guy!) She explained to him that young men often delayed asking a maid’s hand in marriage. Continuing, she suggested that perhaps the ladies be given the opportunity to initiate marriage. Some haggling ensued, but the pair ultimately settled upon one year out of four — specifically, leap years. Then, unexpectedly (it being a leap year and St. Brigid being single) she got down on one knee and proposed to St. Patrick. He refused (of course) bestowing on her instead a kiss and a beautiful silk gown. Hmmmm…we may conclude, among other things, that St. Patrick was better at dealing with snakes than with women. LOL

A document from 1288 shows that Scotland passed a law allowing ladies to propose marriage on Leap Day. Any man who refused the fair maid paid a fine. However, the fine levied was not so terrible. Punishments included kissing the damsel or purchasing her a dress or pair of gloves.

Even the ancient Greeks subscribed to Leap year superstition. If a couple dared to marry during Leap year their marriage was considered doomed to fail or be riddled with bad luck. Greek couples still believe this old superstition as, even today, one in five couples bound for marriage wait until the Leap Year passes before exchanging vows.

Leap Year Facts

*Centuries cannot be designated leap years unless they are divisible by 400. The year 2000 was a leap year because it can be divided evenly by 400.
* Only 4 million people living in the United States were born on Leap Day.
* The odds of a baby being born on Leap Day are 1 in 500.
* People born on Leap Day are called leapers.
* Leap Year babies unfortunate to be born in 1884 had no birthday through their teen years because the year 1900 was not a Leap Year.
* In the Republic of Ireland, babies born on Leap Day receive 70 pounds from the government. This year the Dublin government expects to gift approximately 160 babies with the money.

So…after all that useless information are you ready to celebrate this rare calendar event? How about inviting your friends over for a Leap Day party? Search for one-of-a-kind recipes you will not likely serve again to make dinner as unique as the day. (Need inspiration for the next leap year? Check out our cooking classes here.) Looking for the perfect beverage to accompany this fantastic feast? In 1928 the famous Savoy hotel in London concocted a special Leap Year Cocktail..what is that…do I hear you clamoring for the recipe…do you suppose I have it? Of course I do!

Leap Day Lady
Add the following to your cocktail shaker filled with ice:
2 ounces of gin
½ ounce of Grand Marnier
½ ounce of sweet vermouth
¼ ounce of fresh lemon juice.
Shake 4 times (one for each year, ) strain and serve.

Ummm…special note…the drink was often accompanied by a marriage proposal from a woman to a man. …so mix at your own risk!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out all of our amazing March classes. Hope to see you soon!


About semochristy

I am the Assistant Director of Extended and Continuing Education at Southeast Missouri State University.I love what I do and look forward to sharing the fun with you!


One thought on “Legends of Leap Day

  1. I love the newsletter and I already signed for one March class. Thank you Christy, you are so talented!!

    Posted by Cecilia Larson | March 2, 2012, 8:23 am

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