Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leapin' Lizards!

Not In Greece!

If you beat the odds of 1/1461, today is your birthday. congratulations...go buy a lottery ticket, sit back, and wait for the wealth to roll in. Being born on Feb. 29th happens very seldom, as one might expect. Certainly, it wasn't in Caesar Augustus's plan when he revised the calendar in order to salve his wounded ego, but this day and leap year in general have become special for a lot of reasons.
First: the origin of the odd number of days. Well-known to all is the fact that Julius Caesar recalculated the 355-day calendar that included an extra 22-day month every two years in order to keep things more organized in a city that was the terminus to all roads...and he accomplished it by the not-so-simple plan of, well, just saying so. Years later, Augustus Caesar grew upset that his month (August) contained only 29 days while Julius's month (July) had more. As a result, he filched a couple of days from February (originally outfitted with 30 days) to insure his month was greater in the number of days.
The tradition that most people recognize involves the fact that in a leap year, and especially on February 29th, a woman may ask a man to marry without being castigated as a societal misfit. Supposedly, in the 5th century, St. Bridget begged St. Patrick (were they both saints while alive? hmmm) to permit such an arrangement during the shortest month every four years since women were being forced to wait TOO long for young men to gain the courage to ask THEM. If this is true, that's got to rank right up there with driving the snakes out of Ireland and the creation of green beer for St.Paddy.
While this marriage proposal tradition seems to be something of a worldwide phenomenon, there are some quirky rules in various places. In Denmark, for example, if a man refuses, he is required to provide 12 pairs of gloves to the lady in question. In Finland, the refusal is met with enough fabric to make a skirt (?).
The Greeks, on the other hand, refuse to marry in a leap year, considering it unlucky.
I'd say it's unlucky...many leap years coincide with the election cycle.
I'd rather have snakes.


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