If you were born on February 29, Happy Birthday!

If you were born on February 29, Happy Birthday! We hope you get at least 4 times the birthday presents to make up for missing out the last 3 years! Here’s a bit more about the history of the leap year.

Leap day on February 29, happens only once every four years. Its origins date back to 45 BCE, when Julius Caesar, after consulting with an astronomer, added a day every four years to make up the gap between the lunar and solar calendars. But Caesar made some math mistakes and his solution didn’t quite work, so Pope Gregory XIII adjusted it in 1582 to give us the Gregorian calendar we use today.

Leap day is traditionally an occasion for women in heterosexual couples to turn the tables and propose to the men. Apparently, this tradition began in Scotland in 1288, when a law was passed permitting women to propose to men and instituting a fine for any man who turned down the proposal. Ireland has a similar tradition, and some Irish people refer to Leap Day as Bachelor’s Day for this reason.

In other European countries, the fine for rejecting a proposal isn’t monetary. In Denmark, the man must give the woman who proposed 12 pairs of gloves (she’ll need them to cover her ringless hand!), and Finnish men must give scorned women enough fabric to make a skirt.
Some countries view Leap Day as an unlucky time. In Ancient Rome, February was associated with death, so adding an extra day seemed particularly bleak, and that feeling has carried on to modern-day Italy. Greek tradition says a marriage that occurs on leap day is likely to end in divorce. And even though proposals are welcomed in Scotland on Feb. 29, anyone who’s born that day is said to have a life filled with suffering.

Happy Leap Day enjoy your extra day!