Menu
Lifestyle

A day for the ladies and 'leaplings'

Today is a
Today is a "leap day" - a day for those like Ja Rule who celebrate their birthday on February 29, and for those women who've decided to pop the question. Rachel Urquhart

TODAY, Ja Rule, the now almost middle-aged American rapper, celebrates his ninth birthday. And were Mr Rule not already married, a suitor could legitimately hold a fourth finger up to tradition and ask him for his hand. If he were to refuse, he would be obliged to pay his suitor a fine of anything from a kiss to a dozen pairs of gloves.

Today, you see, is a leap day, the intercalary anomaly that allows "leaplings" in their 80s to pretend they're in their 20s and single ladies of all ages to put a ring on it.

They have Julius Caesar to thank. Way back in 46 BC, he ditched the chaotic Roman calendar in favour of his own, Julian, calendar which, after later reforms, became the Gregorian calendar we use today. Sensible Caesar decided to align his calendar with the solar year, the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun. But Earth takes 365 days and about six hours to make its journey through space. A six-hour day at the end of each year would be silly so instead we add a whole, intercalary day every four years.

However, the Earth's orbit is actually 10 minutes and 48 seconds faster than 365 days and six hours, which is inconvenient. To keep things aligned, leap days come in years evenly divisible by four, except when they are also evenly divisible by 100, when they don't have a leap day, except when they are also evenly divisible by 400, when they do. That's why 1900 did not have a leap day while 2000 did. Got it?

Whatever, today's the day and all over the world an estimated four million people are blowing out candles (you have about one in 1,500 chance of being born on 29 February) while commitment phobic men with twitchy-fingered partners bulk buy gloves. At least they do in Denmark, apparently. The table-turning proposal purportedly started as a tradition in 5th century Ireland. Others trace it to 13th century Scotland, where Queen Margaret required a man who said no to soften the blow with a kiss, a pound or a silk gown.

It's not that great, being a leapling, your ability to defy age notwithstanding. Many websites won't allow you to enter 29 February as your date of birth. Some countries legally compel you to settle for 28 February, while others go for 1 March.

And while leapers get to celebrate today (happy birthday, Ja) we should all be commiserating. Is your employer paying you an extra day's wages this year? Thought not.

Topics:  leap year opinion proposals romance



Careers fair opens new options for Rocky students

rockhampton State High School students Gemma Roug, Molly Hartley and Tahlia Kiraly at the school's inaugural careers fair.

GALLERY: Students enjoy The Morning Bulletin's photo booth

Rocky court rejects line from drink driver 4 times limit

Jordan David Coles pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on February 19 to one count of drink driving for when he was caught with a blood alcohol content of 0.195.

HE was busted drink driving twice in six months

premium_icon Revealed: Full list of Rocky region's top ranking schools

Rockhampton State High School principal Kirsten Dwyer.

Local underdog school takes out Rocky's best OP school ranking

Local Partners

To the stranger who Photoshopped my picture

MIRANDA agreed to have her photo taken with her mum in a jewellery store. When she logged onto Instagram the next day, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

Don't delay: this test could save your life

LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death.

"The doctors said I had come there to die.”

Cricket's Merv Hughes can’t stomach drink and drug-drivers

AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 26: Merv Hughes of Australia prepares to bowl on December 26, 1990 in Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

former Australian cricketer’s first car was an HT Holden wagon.

Russia’s seedy ‘virginity trade’

On Russian social media, young girls and women are being recruited to sell their virginity to wealthy men. Picture: The Sun

Girls as young as 17 sell their virginity

Cancer teen married two days before death

19-year-old cancer patient Lydia Dominguez married her boyfriend Joshua Ordonez just two days before she died.

Teen with cancer dies after getting married two days earlier

Dad’s shock: ‘I was told I was a paedophile’

Karl Pollard was taking his daughter Stephanie to visit her sick grandmother. Picture: SWNS/Mega

Hotel apologises after wrongly accusing innocent dad of paedophilia