Leap Day Trivia


Throughout the ages, the leap day, or the 29th of February, has driven people from all over the world to rather odd behaviour – for one reason or another. Here is a selection of curious or special leap day related facts:

  • Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year around 46 BCE.
  • In Ireland, February 29 is called Bachelor’s Day, when women are allowed to propose to men. It is held that Queen Margaret of Scotland began the tradition in 1288. If a man refused the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or 12 pairs of gloves.
  • One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.
  • In Taiwan, married daughters traditionally return home during the leap month as it is believed the lunar month can bring bad health to parents. Daughters bring pig trotter noodles to wish them good health and good fortune.
  • In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on leap day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.
  • According to the BBC, the chances of having a birthday on a leap day are about one in 1,461.
  • According to the New York Daily News, in modern times, at least two women have given birth to three leap day babies.
  • The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies is a club for people born on the 29th of February. More than 10,000 people worldwide are members.
  • On February 29, 1946, in Tokyo, the February 26 Incident ends.
  • In France, since 1980, a satirical newspaper entitled La Bougie du Sapeur is published only in a leap year, on February 29, making it a quadrennial publication and the least frequently published newspaper in the world.
  • On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black woman to win an Oscar. She was awarded for her role in Gone With the Wind.
  • According to the World Heritage Encyclopaedia, the eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, was born in 1812 and died in 1880, both on February 29.

Frasier: Yeah dad, you should go.
Martin: Ah, Montana’s too far away.
Frasier: Well dad, his birthday only comes around once every four years. As a matter of fact, this day only comes around every four years. You know, it’s like a free day, a gift. We should do something special, be bold!  It’s leap year, take a leap!
Martin: You know, I was just about to say the same thing to you.
[…]
Frasier: Dad, Jimmy’s already sixteen. How many more birthdays is he going to have?
Martin: [smiles] You know, I would kind of hate not being there when Jimmy brings out the big ham.
Frasier Season 3, Episode 16; “Look Before You Leap” [No. 66]

12/ii mmxiv


According to William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar called out: “Et tu Brute!” moments before dying on 15 March, 44 BC. He was stabbed 23 times.

Pope Benedict XVI

On 28 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned the papacy as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. In modern times, all popes stayed in office until death. Benedict XVI was be the first Pope to resign voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

February 12 is an interesting day in history: in 1554, Lady Jane Grey was executed for treason after reigning as queen of England for just nine days, and in 1912, the last emperor of China, Puyi, was forced to abdicate and the country became a republic.

February 11 is a moving date in history: in 1531, Henry VIII is recognised by the new Protestant Church of England as its ‘supreme head’; in 1975, Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman to head a British political party, leading the Conservatives; and in 1990, South African anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years.

British navigator Captain James Cook was killed by indigenous Hawaiians after a row over a stolen boat on 14 February 1779.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Parallelism


In rhetoric, parallelism involves the juxtaposition of two or more identical or equivalent syntactic constructions, especially those expressing the same sentiment with slight modifications, introduced for rhetorical effect.

Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar in the National Ar...

Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar

In short, parallelism means giving two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern.

Parallelisms of various sorts are the chief rhetorical device of Biblical poetry in Hebrew. In fact, Robert Lowth coined the term parallelismus membrorum (parallelism of members, i.e. poetic lines) in his 1788 book, Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrew Nation.

In addition, Chinese poetry uses parallelism in its first form. In a parallel couplet not only must the content, the parts of speech, the mythological and historical and geographical allusions, be all separately matched and balanced, but most of the tones must also be paired reciprocally. Even tones are conjoined with inflected ones, and vice versa.

Examples of parallelism include:

“Veni, vidi, vici.” (I came, I saw, I conquered)
– Julius Caesar

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
– Churchill

“But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”
– Amos

“We charge him with having broken his coronation-oath – and we are told that he kept his marriage-vow! We accuse him of having given up his people to the merciless inflictions of the most hard-hearted of prelates – and the defence is that he took his little son on his knee and kissed him. We censure him for having violated the Petition of Right – and we are informed that he was accustomed to hear prayers at six o’clock in the morning.”
– Macaulay