The reason Leap Year was invented is rather dull.
- In a nutshell, the Earth actually rotates about 365 and quarter times on its axis to complete a full year’s orbit around the sun. That means that periodically, or every four years to be precise, an extra day needs to be jammed in somewhere to help balance things out. Apparently, the end of February seemed as good a place as any. And, according to most theories, we have Julius Caesar to thank for that.
But, in spite of its very practical reason for being, Leap Year has tickled the fancy of romantics around the world and through the ages.
- If you put stock in old Irish legends, Leap Year came about due to a deal that St. Bridget struck with St. Patrick designed to allow women to propose to men every four years.
- In nearby Denmark, Leap Year folklore says that if a lady’s marriage proposal is turned down, the would-be groom owes her 12 pairs of gloves -- one pair for each month to hide her embarrassment over the lack of an engagement ring.
- In modern-day America, these Leap Year fables evolved into every teenage girl’s worst nightmare -- the Sadie Hawkins dance in which the girls invite the boys to spend an uncomfortable evening in a crepe-paper covered gymnasium.
- Always the type to gravitate toward the happy ending, the Greeks recommend especially long engagements when a Leap Year approaches, believing it to be quite unlucky for couples to tie the knot during a Leap Year. Getting married on a Leap Day could set the wheels in motion for Oedipal-like tragedy.