February 29, 2012

February 29 / Leap Year Day Facts, Superstitions & Beliefs


Interesting facts about February 29: The Leap Year Day
  • Leapers, those born on February 29, a date that appears on calendars once every four or sometimes eight years, face a range of troubles over their birthdays, from computer snafus to police suspicion during traffic stops to hearing about delivery room negotiations to alter their birth certificate to a day earlier or a day later.
  • The Honor Society for Leap Year Day Babies is an online club for people born on February 29 boasts more than 9,000 members.
  • There are just over 200,000 leapers in the United States and just under 5 million worldwide
  • Salaried employees are working for free this February 29 since paychecks are based on a 365-day year.
  • February 29 is not recognized by some computer services and software programs that power everything from banking to life insurance
  • Leap Day has tripped up Google, whose Blogger program will not allow existing users born on February 29 to update their profiles, an annoyance to leapers who use social media. 
  • Leap years occur every four years, except those ending in double zeros, such as 1900 and 2100. To confuse matters, there is an exception to that exception: Years ending in double zeros that can be evenly divided by 400, such as 1600 and 2000, are in fact leap years.
  • Microsoft's Excel, the world's most popular spreadsheet, doesn't realize that 1900 was not a leap year and as a result myriad other companies' programs, in order to be compatible, have had to put the error in their code. Microsoft has no plans to correct the mistake because "fixing it now would cause greater impact to customers," a company spokeswoman said.
  • Because there is no leap year in 2100, anyone born this February 29 who lives a long life will have no birthday from 2096 to 2104.
  • These mathematical gymnastics have been executed since about 44 B.C., when Julius Caesar instituted the leap year system to correct a defect in the calendar that would otherwise put the seasons out of sync
  • Because of their quadrennial birthdate, leapers have been known to invite people to their Sweet 16 party to mark their 64th year
  • For most people, February 29 is a quirky extra day to enjoy life

Despite its singular status in the Gregorian calendar, February 29 stands solemnly alone as far as auspicious rituals go. Old superstitions revolving around marriage and childbirth on leap day have ensured that few ceremonies or Caesarean sections will take place on Wednesday.

Facts, Superstitions & Beliefs about Marriages on February 29: The Leap Year Day
  • Unlike 10.10.10 and 11.11.11 when wedding halls and labour rooms were booked weeks in advance, this unique date of February 29 brings no sound and fury. 
  • In a survey of 100-odd marriage halls by Times Of India, only two had weddings scheduled for February 29. 
  • Several communities believe it is best not to get married in a leap year. This superstition is prevalent among most Indian communities, including Roman Catholics. It is true that there are fewer weddings in a leap year but there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that a leap year is inauspicious.
  • This year, the Hindu almanac too does not actively support February 29 weddings. The last of the wedding mahurats for the month ended on February 26. The period of Holashtak or eight days before Holi is a time when no auspicious tasks, particularly weddings, are performed. Holi falls on March 8 this year so Feb 29 is too close for comfort.
  • A popular belief in such years is that it's the woman who has the privilege of proposing marriage. It's a pleasant superstition that those who dread a leap year might do well to remember. 
Facts, Superstitions & Beliefs about Child Births on February 29: The Leap Year Day
  • Gynaecologists are only expecting to handle natural births this day, for all planned deliveries have been either advanced or deferred.
  • Some decided to avoid February 29 for a practical reason that the child would get to celebrate his birthday only once every four years. Birthdays ofcourse bring tremendous excitement to children.
  • All companies that maintain birthday registers find that February 29 makes the most anaemic list. 
  • Rationalists would laugh away the bad luck superstition and joke that all those born on this day actually advance in age only once in four years. 
  • Well what about people who do have their birthdays on February 29 ? Ofcourse they do celebrate their birthday each year, either on February 28 or March 1 !

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