Leap Day provides more time

Tales from the front pew

As most of you are no doubt aware, tomorrow is Feb. 29 — Leap Day.

Leap Day, of course, is part of Leap Year, something that happens every four years.

So, why do Leap Years exist?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it all has to do with the discrepancy between astronomical seasons and the Gregorian Calendar.

You see, these two things would not be in sync, due to the fact that a Gregorian calendar year is 365 days, while a year, according to the time it takes for the earth to orbit the sun, is a little longer.

As such, that extra day every four years ties it all together — It’s all very scientific, which basically means I don’t understand a word I just wrote, but hopefully you’re smarter than I am, and it makes sense.

Like many out-of-the-ordinary events, Leap Year has a lot of lore surrounding it, along with some interesting historical facts.

For example, some folks consider Leap Years to be bad luck. In certain cultures, it’s not recommended to marry in a Leap Year.

Conversely, Irish folklore says that St. Brigit complained to St. Patrick about the length of time it took men to propose, which led to the two striking a deal that women could do the proposing every four years.

Legend also has it that Queen Margaret of Scotland was so taken with the idea that in 1288, when she was only five years old, she put a set of rules in place that a man who rejected such a proposal would have to ante up a gown, gloves and kiss. (Hmm … I think I know where those “bad luck” rumors came from).

Speaking of bad luck, Rome burned, and the Titanic sank in a Leap Year.

Then again, Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity in a Leap Year, which was a good thing.

If you happened to have been born on Feb. 29, you’re considered a “leaper” or a “leapling.” You’re also relatively rare, as only 1 in 1,500 people are born that day. I’d say you’re also pretty lucky because while the rest of us “regular” folks get a year older each year, it only happens to you every four.

Some people consider Leap Day a good opportunity to do something adventurous.

One of my favorite “Frasier” episodes about Leap Day involved Daphne trying out a new hairdo, Martin taking a spur-of-the-moment airplane trip and Frasier planning to sing an operatic song on a Public Television telethon. Each endeavor ended in complete disaster, but of course that’s what made it all funny.

The way I see it, Leap Year is God’s way of giving us an extra day every four years.

Unlike Frasier and his cohorts, though, I don’t plan on doing anything daring.

Nope, I think I’ll take that extra 24 hours and spend time in God’s Word, spend a little extra time with my family and thank the Lord for getting us all through another four years, full of challenges and blessings.

Happy Leap Day!


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