I couldn’t help asking myself this question today as I read about Leap Year traditions and folklore from around the world. I usually think of leap years as exciting and unusual. I even joke it is great to have an extra day in February every four years to get my life together.
Over 2,000 years ago Julius Caesar first introduced the Leap Year. Since then there have been many traditions and folklore built up around leap years. Most of the traditions are based in Europe and involve marriage. In Greece it is considered especially unlucky to marry on a leap day, and marrying during a leap year in general is risky. If you are a special event planner that produces weddings, you might want to consider this today. Scotland folklore considers it unlucky to be born on a leap day. Russians associate the year with freak weather and higher risk of dying.
In Italy, leap years are thought to be gloomy years. The saying is “anno bisesto, anno funesto” which roughly translates to “leap year, gloomy year.” Lately, I’ve been feeling very Italian. This year has already been a bit of a rough year for me. I started off the New Year sick with that horrible respiratory bug that was going around. In late January someone tried to break into my house in the middle of the night while I was home alone, it was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me. At work, all the events I produce have big changes on the horizon and I already want to cry about parking problems. Then to top it all off, about two weeks ago the company I work for announced it sold. I think the sale is great for the company. I just see a lot of turmoil in my near future because the transaction occurs during event season, which is already crazy. It is only February… hopefully March and the rest of 2016 my luck turns around.
On the positive side, not everyone in the world has a negative superstition about Leap Year. The Irish have a lovely tradition where women propose marriage to men. Thanks to Amy Adams and the movie Leap Year, everyone that didn’t know before, is now aware of this fun old Irish legend. The story goes that back in the day St. Brigid made a deal with St. Patrick that every four years women were allowed to propose to men. This went against traditional roles in the culture, but similar to the idea of Leap Day making the calendar balance, this role reversal balanced the roles in many Irish relationships.
I’m going to embrace my Irish side and consider this a year of balance, not doom and gloom. I’m going to focus more on balance in my personal life and professional life for the rest of the year and not let any of these superstitions make it a gloomy year. Instead of being afraid and superstitious, I’m going to embrace this leap year!
Want to know more about Leap Years? Check out these sites that inspired this blog post:
- Leap Day Customs & Traditions
- 9 Leap Year traditions – and superstitions – from around the world
- Leap Year 2016: Why does February have 29 days every four years?
Do you believe in Leap Year superstitions? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.