My heart goes out to those poor people born on Leap Day (which is tomorrow but I’m reviewing the Academy Awards tomorrow). Three out of four years they never get friends wishing them Happy Birthday on Facebook. There are other heartaches they face as well, but who are we kidding? That’s the big one.
In New Zealand on non-leap years a February 29th birthday is officially celebrated on the 28th. Those folks can legally drink one day early. And your boyfriend who’s been holding off because you’re a minor can now sleep with you one day sooner. No big deal for you but a huge big deal for him.
In certain European nations March 1st is the recognized date when there is no leap year. To me that’s even weirder. Some years you celebrate your birthday in February and others in March. This becomes of primary importance when restaurants offer complimentary meals for your birthday month. If Café ‘50s thinks you’re scamming them to get that free burger and shake you’re in for a world of grief.
Being a Leap Day baby was a big advantage in the ‘60s when it came time to register for the draft by your 18th birthday. You could put it off for sometimes three years. Not so great when you went to the DMV and tried to get your driver’s license and had to convince the idiot clerk you do in fact exist.
I wonder how many Feb. 29’ers have trouble when carded. They think you screwed up in making your fake ID.
In Ireland there is a tradition where women get to propose to men on Leap Day. If this sounds familiar it’s because it was the premise of that lame romcom you never saw starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. As legend has it, if the boy rejects the proposal he has to buy the jilted lass twelve pairs of gloves… to cover the public humiliation of not wearing a ring. Seems to me white gloves would be more noticeable and mortifying, but hey, I’m not Irish. Take that up with Conan O’Brien.
In ancient times they used to just repeat a day in February. That’s kind of what NBC does with their primetime lineup on Saturdays. At one time in Sweden they not only added a 29th of February but a 30th as well. I think that ended when Volvo complained that their warranties were too long as it was.
The Jewish calendar doesn’t have a Leap Day. It has a Leap MONTH. Yes, every four years they add another month. That’s like an entire astrological sign.
The Chinese year contains 13 months with a leap month added every three years. That’s the Year of the Pregnant Kangaroo.
For the rest of us it just means one day of free rent, one extra day before we have to pay taxes, and studios can inflate their boxoffice receipts for February. In 2012 Disneyland and Disney World remained open for 24 hours. I don’t know if they’re doing that this year. But Irish girls can wear their white gloves with Minnie Mouse ears and no one will know they were left at the altar.
Happy Leap Day!