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Leap Year E-Cards
Leap Year
February 29, 2000

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Our solar year is 365.24219 days.

History of Leap Year:

The Romans originally had a 355-day calendar. To keep up with the seasons, an extra 22 or 23-day month was inserted every second year, or so. They were not consistent in adding this month and by Julius Caesar’s time, the seasons no longer occurred at the same calendar periods as in the past. To correct this, Caesar eliminated the extra month and added one or two extra days to the end of various months. Thus extending the calendar to 365 days. He also intended an extra calendar day every fourth year (following the 28th day of Februarius). However, after Caesar’s death in 44 B.C., the calendars were written with an extra day every 3 years instead of every 4 until corrected in 8 A.D. So again, the calendar drifted away from the seasons.

By 1582, Pope Gregory XIII recognized that Easter would eventually become closer and closer to Christmas. The calendar was reformed so that a leap day would occur in any year that is divisible by 4 but not divisible by 100 except when the year is divisible by 400. Thus 1600 and 2000, although century marks, have a Leap Day.

We use the Gregorian calendar to this day. Our year of 365.2425 days, is only off from our solar year by .00031, which amounts to only one day’s error after 4,000 years.

Sadie Hawkins Day:

FEBRUARY 29th is also known as Sadie Hawkins Day.

Rules of courtship were more strict in years past. Women who were hoping to marry their beaus had to wait for a proposal; they were not allowed to pop the question themselves... except on one day, every four years. You guessed it, on Feb 29!

Sadie Hawkins Day, developed out of the popular cartoon strip "Li' Abner" by Al Capp. In her article in the Baltimore Sun on Feb 29, 1992, writer Sandra Crockett writes- "a female character named 'Sadie Hawkins' who lived in the fictional town Dogpatch was having a tough time getting a man to propose to her. Her father, the mayor of said fictional town, declared one day, 'Sadie Hawkin's' day. The unmarried women in Dogpatch ran -- literally -- after unmarried men to propose that day."

The tradition actually started with St. Patrick and St. Bridget (5th Century) in Ireland. St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that the sisters in her nunnery were in despair because the prevailing tradition at the time -- that women had to wait for a proposal of marriage from a man. St.Patrick agreed to allow women to propose to men every four years, during Leap Year. Afterwards, Bridget proposed to Patrick only to be turned down!

So women, February 29th is you're day to ask that special someone. Just keep your eye out for St. Patricks.

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