5 Weird Leap Day traditions around the world

Posted by Anita Froneman on 28 February 2020

Leap Years are interesting for a number of reasons, but mostly because we get a whole extra day every four years. That’s because a standard calendar year is 365 days, but Earth technically takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to navigate completely around the sun. To keep the calendar year synchronized with the seasons, an extra day is added every four years, so everything adds up.

Around the world, many superstitions, traditions and celebrations surround Leap Day on 29 February. There is even an Honor Society for Leap Year Babies!

Here are 5 strange traditions you probably didn’t know about:

1. The proposal

A common tradition in many countries was for a woman to propose or ask out a man on Leap Day, whereas the conservative way would have been for it to be the other way around. In Scotland, rumour has it that Queen Margaret passed a law in 1288 requiring men who refused any proposition pay a fine or present a gift, according to odditiesandcuriousitiestravel.com. These days, though, anyone is free to ask anyone out of course.

2. The Leap Year Capital of the World

Anthony, Texas in the US is the self-proclaimed leap year capital of the world. The town decided to host a birthday festival for leap day babies ever since 1988 and no other city or country ever tried to rival them or take their title away, so it became ‘official.’

3. The noodles

In Taiwan, married daughters are expected to return home to their parents for the month of February during Leap Year and bring them pig trotter noodles for health and fortune.

4. Bad luck in romance

A Greek saying goes that couples getting married on Leap Day will eventually get divorced! As if that isn’t bad enough, there’s also a superstition that divorced couples separating during a Leap Year will never find happiness again.

5. Unstable weather

In Russia, it was widely believed that Leap Years bring unpredictable weather and farmers would be especially concerned for their crops and livestock during these years.


Image: Pexels

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