2020 is a very special year for us all since it is a leap year. This means, the month of February has that extra 29th day, which is today, an event that happens every four years. That is why we refer to this day as the leap day.
From an astronomical point of view, leap day, February 29th, is but a corrective measure added to the calendar. The reason is that each year doesn’t have exactly 365 days, the time it takes for the Earth to make a full rotation around the sun.
They say that people born on leap days celebrate their birthdays every other four years and they always remain a few days younger than the rest of us.
Leap Day customs around the world
There are very many different beliefs about leap year and leap days around the world. In some cultures, it is a magical year/day, while for others, leap days are the same as Friday 13th. You get the idea.
Most of the myths and customs related to the leap year seem to have emerged in Great Britain and northern European countries. An old Irish legend says that St Brigid and St Patrick made a deal so that women were allowed to propose to men every four years, on a leap year. Scots consider people born on a leap year to be unlucky in life, while Greeks believe that couples should not marry on a leap year for the same reasons.
Today we look at people born on February 29th as unique, since the odds are one in 1,461 and each leap year as special.
From a broader perspective, leap years are people’s attempts to establish a natural event that is hard to set. The year is 365 days and a quarter long, but this is not precise. Time is relative and in our futile attempt to master it, we might as well simply enjoy it, while we’re here. Happy leap day!