Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Bissextile Day!

Bet ya that title caught your attention didn't it?...ya pervs... Well, sorry to be the salacious buzz killer but unfortunately Bissextile has nothing to do with one's sexual preferences, in fact it has nothing to do with sex at, now that I've probably lost over three quarters of my audience I'll continue.

Bissextile is actually the official name of the leap day we add every four years to keep our calendar in sync. Hence my title "Happy Bissextile Day", it just sounded so much more intriguing than "Happy Leap Day".

The MacMillan Dictionary actually breaks it down like this:

bissextile adjective
referring to a leap year
bissextile noun [C]
a leap year
bissext (also bissextus) noun [C]
February 29th, the extra day in a leap year

Incidentally... Bissext is also often referred to as "Ladies Day." This is because of the old tradition that women are allowed to propose marriage to men not only on Leap Year Day (2/29) but throughout the entire Leap Year. This tradition can be traced back to an old Irish legend concerning St. Patrick and St. Bridget in the 5th Century.

Bridget complained that her nuns were upset because they never had a chance to propose marriage. (Note: At this time, the celibacy rule in religious orders was based on personal private vows and not a requirement by the church.) So, Patrick suggested that the women be given this privilege every 7 years. This wasn't good enough for Bridget. She said it should be every 4 years! So, Patrick compromised and obliged the women by saying that they could have Leap Year. Patrick felt this showed just how passive women were expected to be in those days. Much to his surprise, Bridget then proposed to him! Patrick declined her proposal. Instead he promised to give her a silk gown and a kiss.

So... in the British Isles during the Middle Ages there was an unwritten law that stated every single man who turned down a woman's proposal during Leap Year had to compensate her with a kiss plus either a silk gown or a pair of gloves.

All of which begs the question, Why doesn't a woman have to compensate a man when she flat rejects him!?

Another weird term associated with this unusual day is the noun "leapling", used to refer to a person born on February 29th. They even have their own website (of course who doesn't these days) found at bad would it suck to be born on February 29th? I mean, not only would you only have a birthday every four years, but you could also be referred to as a Bissextile Leapling. I reckon if your folks weren't married when you popped out you'd be a Bissextile Leapling Bastard.

As if you haven't been force fed enough useless bissextile trivia for one day...(ah well it only happens once every four years so deal with it) but funny enough I found out that rapper Ja Rule is a Bissextile Leapling. I'm unsure as to his parents matrimonial status at the time of his birth so it looks like I'll have to leave off that last bit.

By the way...if you're out tonight and you bump into someone who seems to be going at it just a little harder than the rest of the crowd, it's probably a Leapling. Apparently their motto is "Party like it happens only once every four years!"

So hold on to yer butts Saipan cuz it's shaping up to be a crazy bissextile night. The volcanic haze is back with a vengence, there's a Navy ship in, the Leaplings will be out in force and there's live reggae at the Hard Rock.

Whoa...I just had a scary thought, what if there's a leapling among the sailors?? If there is then I can already see tomorrow's headline "Leapling Sailor Parties Himself Into Coma". I mean think about only get to celebrate your birthday once every four years and you've been cooped up on some ship for like 6 months...yikes.

Random One Liner of the Day:

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.


bigsoxfan said...

Jeez, I can't believe I read the whole thing. You receive the award for most unusual post of the leap year/day/thingee. Party on,

Bruce A. Bateman said...

The Leap Day party at Porky's was fun! We leapt and leaped and sprang and pounced and thoroughly enjoyed that party day that only comes once every 4 years.

Thanks for the intriguing tidbits.

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