We want to make Leap Day a thing. It kind of feels important, like another New Year: in some ways a very low key one and on the other hand, four times a bigger deal!
As you probably know, Leap Year is our calendrical scooch. It’s used to shimmy us back on track when we invariably wander off the true astronomical year, since the earth doesn't orbit the sun in exactly 365 days. In fact, it takes the earth 365.242189 days — or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds, according to Time and Date, to round the solar bend. If we didn't add an extra day to February ‘about’ every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. A little cosmic number crunching would find us off track by about 25 days after a century.
About that ‘about.’ It’s not technically every four years. There's a leap year every year that is divisible by four, and century years (the ones ending in ‘00’) need also be divisible by 400. So, the year 2000 was a leap year, but not the years 1700, 1800 and 1900. Interesting? Yeah, not really. But stay with us.
Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year around 46 B.C. (scheduled every four years), until Pope Gregory XIII introduced his Gregorian calendar more than 1,500 years later. It seems like a long time to get that straightened out.
Not surprisingly, Leap Day customs have evolved over the years, most notably the romantic kind. It’s said that in the 5th century, Saint Bridget (a progressive lass) complained to Saint Patrick that women weren't allowed to propose marriage. So Patty complied (sort of) and designated Leap Day as the one day that this was allowed, says the BBC. In Ireland, Leap Day is known as Bachelor’s Day.
Another theory credits a five-year-old Queen Margaret of Scotland (c. 1288) for the bachelor trap tradition. We find it more likely to be the brainchild of a precocious five-year-old queen than a woman destined for sainthood. Maggie also required that women wear the color red for the occasion. Naturally.
This tradition traveled and evolved. In Denmark, if the man rejected a woman’s Leap Day proposal, he had to give her several pairs of gloves. It reasons this was to help preserve the poor girl’s dignity (no engagement ring). And maybe some girls along the way used the tradition as a ruse to just cop some fine new gloves? Seems fair.
In Greece, however, it’s bad luck to propose marriage on Leap Day and in fact, the wedding industry always suffers on Leap Years from a drop in business. The Greeks take it seriously to this day.
Scotland believes Leap Year carries bad luck, at least insofar as livestock is concerned. The Italians purport the omen has to do with women, “Anno bisesto tutte le donne senza sesto” meaning “In a leap year, women are erratic.” That’s probably fair.
Here’s what we’re thinking. What if we declared Leap Day as the day you take a leap of faith about something and do something you wouldn’t normally do? A day to follow your heart and take a risk. It doesn’t have to involve a person; maybe you splurge on yourself? Book that vacation you’ve always wanted? Ask for the promotion you deserve? Visit your local animal rescue for the kitten you’ve been considering? You get the idea.
Or maybe, like the calendar, it’s an opportunity for a personal rejigger? Could this be the day - like New Year’s - that you get yourself back aligned with a path you seek? A way to re-claim that failed resolution?
Whatever you decide, we hope you make Leap Day about YOU. A little self-indulgence is in order. Should you decide your self-indulgence involves some innovative, anti-aging and restorative botanical skincare, we want to give you your first Leap Year gift, 20% off your Clark’s Botanicals Leap Day Purchase. Use code 2020LeapDay. Good February 29th and March 1st, 2020, just in case you're indecisive. 😉 Hoppy Leap Day!