Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping For Joy

Because it is Leap Day!

An extra day in the year, in which to do, well, whatever celebrating you choose to do.

Play a game of leap frog. Or go tell someone to take a flying leap, and mean it in a fun way, like into the swimming pool. This latter only works if you live in someplace tropical, of course. Maybe if it's cold where you are, you could leap into a pile of snow, then go crawl into a cup of hot cocoa.

Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland, California, will both be open for 24 hours straight to celebrate. Mammoth ski resorts are letting those who were born on Leap Day have a free stay.

Leap Day babies, often called Leaplings or Leapers, will have an extra reason to celebrate this year. Although, it is the one date on the calendar where you probably won't live to see your "special" birthday, where your age and the day you were born match up. Some people call those golden, or champagne, birthdays. Meaning, it's easy enough if you were born on the 8th of a month, say; when you turn 8 years old on that 8th, it's your special birthday.

Leapings would have to wait to be 116 years old to turn 29 on the 29th. It's a price you pay for being special yourself, i guess.

You can also belong to The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies if you are a Leapling. There are about 10,000 members, although, worldwide, about 4-5 million people would qualify.

The Guinness Book records two families with interesting stories to tell about Leap Day babies. In Norway, Karin Hendriksen gave birth to her daughter Heidi on Feb. 29, 1960, her son Olav on Feb. 29, 1964, and her son Leif-Martin on Feb. 29, 1968.

Then there is the Keogh family. Peter Anthony Keogh was born in Ireland on Feb. 29, 1940, his son was born on Leap Day in 1964 in the UK, and finally his granddaughter arrived on the 29th of February in 1996.

Yes, there are sometimes multiples born on Leap Day. The Honor Society records at least two sets of triplets and one set of quads.

One has to wonder if these families should be playing the lottery.

Only one world leader was both born on and died on Leap Day, and that was
Sir James Milne Wilson, the eighth premier of Tasmania. The years were 1812 and 1880, by the way.

There are superstitions in some places, like Greece and China, that label this month or this day as unlucky. Guess some people don't like the odd day out. Prisoners probably don't, as one year sentences that cross a Leap Year give them an extra day behind bars.

The people over at Amphibian Ark don't think so. They are using this opportunity to launch a new international event called Leaping Ahead of Extinction: A celebration of good news for amphibians in 2012. Preventing extinction of amphibians, which tell us how healthy our waterways are, sounds like a worthy cause to me.

Whatever your plans for the day, i hope you enjoy the extra one.

Today is:

Bachelors' Day -- according to legend, and you may pick which you prefer:
a) women are allowed to propose to men on this day, because of a deal St. Bridget made with St. Patrick, and a man who refuses such a proposal must pay her a penalty, or
b) this is the one day of the year bachelors are immune from marriage proposals

International Underlings' Day -- created by Peter D. Morris for all of us who are neither a boss nor a professional assistant, as both of those have their own day; unofficially celebrated on Feb. 28 or Mar. 1 in non leap years, but this year it's official! Underlings, Unite!

Leap Year Day

Rare Disease Day

St. Oswald of Worcester's Day

Surf and Turf Day

Birthdays Today

Antonio Sabato, Jr., 1972
Tony Robbins, 1960
Gretchen Christopher, 1940
Jack Lousma, 1936
Dinah Shore, 1916
Jimmy Dorsey, 1904
William Wellman, 1896
Herman Hollerith, 1860
Gioacchino Rossini, 1792
Ann Lee, 1736

Today in History

The Romans create the first Leap Year by adding a day to their calendar, BC46
The Scottish Parliament makes it illegal for a man to refuse to marry a woman who proposes on Leap Day, the only day women could propose; his penalty for refusing would be to give her a kiss, some gold, and a pair of gloves (to hide the fact that she didn't have a wedding ring), 1288
Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies, 1504
February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style, 1712
The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations, 1796
St. Petersburg, Florida, is incorporated, 1892
In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old, 1916
Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air, 1936
For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award, 1940
In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Sweden's Consul General in San Francisco, 1940
An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country, 1960
The Family Circus comic strip debuts, 1960
In Sydney, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition (58.9 seconds), 1964
Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract, 1972
Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal, 1980
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader, 1984
South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town, 1988
Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed as President of Haiti following a coup, 2004


  1. The combination of special days made me laugh. Bachelors, rare diseases and surf n turf - who could have thought of a link? :D

  2. Jenny, there's some crazy stuff out there; thanks for stopping by.


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