Reluctant boyfriends beware ...
– today marks a leap year, the one day every four years when women are traditionally able to propose marriage to their menfolk.
Leap years have other folklore associated with them too: including the widely held belief that they are in some way unlucky – a superstition supposedly backed up by calamitous events in history, such as the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. But given that leap years occur every four years, it’s hardly surprising that some unfortunate events have taken place then.
Leap years also feature in weather folklore, though not perhaps as prominently as you might expect. So according to one ancient belief, during the course of a leap year the weather always changes on a Friday. Hill farmers, too, are wary of these quadrennial events, for as the saying goes, “Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year”.
A more positive weather-related event occurred in the leap year 1752, when US scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is a form of electrical charge, using a kite to conduct the electricity. However, he carried out his experiment not on 29 February, but in June.
29 February – also known as “leap day” – is also associated with frogs – presumably because of their habit of leaping long distances using their powerful back legs. The association may also have come about because late February is also the time when frogs are at their most active and visible, as the males eagerly mate with the females and the first spawn is laid.
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