Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29, 2008

To some, leap year is a nuisance. It messes up pay or work schedules. To others, it’s a good day. Sometimes a birthday – which can be annoying in elementary school when you turn eight and everyone says “Happy Second Birthday!” I remember one such unfortunate soul. (Happy Birthday, Ross…and Ja Rule!).
For me however, leap year is a blessing. I fear the passage of time- I hate how fast the years fly by…so adding an extra day to February is a gift. I thought daylight savings “fall back” was good but, 24 more hours until March? 24 extra hours until my next birthday? I couldn’t be happier.

If only I were Chinese- they have leap MONTHS!!! Imagine adding an entire month to your year- what a scheduling disaster that would be- especially because the leap month is given the same exact name as the previous month; “Oh wait, you wanted that status report on the Wednesday March 7 last month, NOT Wednesday March 7 THIS month?” or “I’m not late for curfew mom, I am actually about 29 days early!”Do people born in a Chinese leap month get two birthdays? That would be marvelous.

There is also a Hebrew leap month. I love that- the chosen people always pulling through. There are 29 or 30 days in each month in a Jewish leap year, which has around 384 days. 384 DAYS IN A YEAR! The extra month, Adar I, is added after the month of Shevat and before the month of Adar. According to tradition, Adar is a lucky and happy month. Who wouldn’t want two Adars??

In all seriousness, the extra day every four years does serve a purpose. Leap years are required to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun. Without leap years, every year would result in a loss of .2422 days or almost six hours. After 100 years, the calendar would be over 24 days ahead of the season. This is neither desirable nor accurate and would make a difference in the seasons. Although, with global warming, I’m not so sure this matters anymore.

In England, there is a tradition that women “can” propose marriage to men on the 29th of February. This one took me a bit to figure out, thus I’ve remained moderately confused for a while now. Everyone kept referring to my relationship, winking at me and saying “well, it’s a leap year!” After smiling, nodding and pretending like I had an inkling about what they were discussing, I did some research; Legend has it that Queen Margaret of Scotland imposed fines on the men who replied no to these said proposals. Mind you, the Queen was five years old. Compensation ranged from kisses to silk gowns.

Children who are born on leap days are officially called “leaplings.” If I ever do decide to have children, I’m going to aim for a due date of February 29th so that I can have my very own little leapling! This also means that I won’t be confronted about children for another four years- which is an enormous relief.

When it comes down to it though, I’m just happy to have this one extra day.
I’ll take anything I can get.
And once again, I am in agreement with The Stones;
“Time is on my side, oh yes it is.”

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