In honour of the fact today is 29th February and women all over the world are proposing to their men today while others are actually having a “proper” birthday, here’s some entertaining “stuff” about leap years and 29th February:
1. Queen Margaret of Scotland was apparently five years old when she came up with the notorious February 29 proposal trap.
2. If a man did refuse the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or twelve pairs of gloves.
3. Women either have to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat to pop the question, according to tradition.
4. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.
5. People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”.
6. The odds of being born on February 29th are 1 in 1,461, which makes it particularly rare for one leapling to meet another.
7.The possibility that three children in the same family would be born on three consecutive Leap Days, but that’s exactly what happened with the Henriksen family of Norway. Heidi Henriksen was born on 2/29/1960, her brother Olav four years later on 2/29/64, and baby Leif-Martin four years after that on 2/29/68.
8. The poet Lord Byron was born on a Leap Day.
9. The plot of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance revolved around Frederic’s discovery that, because he is a leapling, he must remain apprenticed to pirates and serve another 63 years before he can join Mabel, his one true love.
10. Anthony, Texas is the self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capital of the World”. It holds a festival which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, “fun at the horse farm” and square dancing.
11. Today you are working for free if you’re on a fixed annual wage.
12. Astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents, such as the ability to burp the alphabet or paint like Picasso.
There’s an official leap day cocktail to celebrate this day called… The Leap Day Cocktail! This colourful cousin of the martini was invented by pioneering bartender Harry Craddock at London’s Savoy Hotel in 1928. According to the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, “it is said to have been responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail ever mixed” (see: Sadie Hawkins Day above). Whether or not you’re in the market for a freshly soused spouse, you can make your own Leap Day cocktail with Craddock’s original recipe:
1 dash lemon juice
1/6 Grand Marnier
1/6 sweet vermouth
Shake, serve, garnish with a lemon peel, and enjoy the flood of bittersweet flavors. It’s like a marriage, in your mouth!
I wasn’t going to celebrate Leap Day, but I decided to jump on the band wagon.
I’m going to get married on February 29th, so I only have to remember our anniversary once every 4 years.
Why did the frog read Sherlock Holmes?
He liked a good croak and dagger.