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Just a thought… t

By Staff | Mar 5, 2012

As I am writing this column, it is February 29, 2012, leap day in a leap year.

What exactly does that mean? A year has only 365 days doesn’t it?

Apparently when a leap day occurs every four years, it adds one more day to the year. So a leap year is 366 days. A normal year is actually 365.242 days. It takes the Earth longer than a year to travel around the sun, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, to be exact. (“http://www.chiff.com/a/leap”>www.chiff.com/a/leap year)

The reason for this strange anomaly, simply put, is that the leap day every four years aligns the human measurement of time more closely with nature, according to urbanlegends.about.com.

Persons born on this day are called leaplings or leapers and they only get a birth date every four years. Although this would seem to keep them younger than the rest of us, who wants to be younger if you have to wait four years to have a birthday. Boy, I dodged that bullet, by only a matter of weeks.

In researching Leap Day online, I came across a tradition called “ladies privilege” which only occurs on a leap day. The tradition is that women are allowed to propose to a man on a leap day, instead of the other way around. (Excuse me, but I think this idea may have gone by the way- side with the women’s movement.)

“The convention was (in literature, if not in reality) that any man who refused such a proposal owed his spurned suitor a silk gown and a kissprovided she was wearing a red petticoat at the moment she popped the question.” …www.urbanlegends.about.com or google Leap Day.

We are thinking that the last tidbit about the red petticoat was probably thought up by a man. Just how many of you ladies own a red petticoat?

How many of you could use a few silk dresses and a few kisses? I see this as an opportunity for women to get more clothes. But be careful what you wish for. If he did accept your proposal, not only would you not get the silk dress, you would get the man. Just kidding, of course.

Unfortunately, this informative column will come out a few days after this leap day, so you all will have missed your opportunity. However, it does come up again in four years. Don’t wait until 2100, however, as there will be no leap year that year because it has to be a year number which can be divided evenly by 400 and 2100 does not.

Barta is The Tribune’s editor.

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