An Extra Day

Do you know what is special about
the last day of February this year?

It is a catch-up day,
February 29th, Leap Year Day!

I've always felt sorry (and a tinge of jealousy) for those born on this day. They could only celebrate their birthdays every four years, but at the same time, that made them just a little bit more special.

There have been some interesting traditions and folklore centered on this day.

According to English law, February 29th was ignored and had no legal status. Therefore, it was the one day when women could ask someone to marry them. This practice was first documented in 1288, when Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. They also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine, such as a kiss to money for clothing.

In the comic strip, Li'l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch's earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The "homeliest gal in all them hills", she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin'. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it "Sadie Hawkins Day". Specifically, a foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town's eligible bachelors—and matrimony as the consequence.

"When ah fires [my gun], all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—after givin' yo' a fair start—Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husbin."

The town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown—by law he had to marry her! ( Sadie Hawkins Day )

When did you first learn about Leap Year Day?

I was just seven years old, and my father taught me about how the earth travels around the earth. He told me how it takes 365 1/4 of a day. Every four years, we put them together to make a special day. I remember thinking that I wish I had learned it that morning, so I could have enjoyed the special day that only happens every four years.

I have written a e-book for children
based on my childhood experience.

It is only $1.00 for the month of February,

(This will have to cover two letters,
D and E, for the A2Z Take 2)


Barbara Lynn Culler said...

Interesting take on the letters! I remember Sadie Hawkins dances in high school- where the gal asks the guy to the dance!

My birthday is February 28, but it was not a leap year year, so my mom was not concerned!

Diana Brandmeyer said...

I remember Sadie Hawkins Dances. I never got to attend one because they quit having them by the time I got to high school.
My youngest son was due on Feb. 29th, guess he didn't want that day for a birthday since he waited another 2 weeks to be born.

Shelley Ledfors said...

Interesting! I knew about the Sadie Hawkins stuff but not the older history of the 29th. Love it when I learn new things by reading the meme posts! :-)

Niki Turner said...

Oh, that's fun! I had no idea! Just read in our local paper's archives from 1912 that the judge had decided to waive the marriage license fee if the girl proposed, unless, he said "there were too many requests." I wonder if he was thinking of Leap Year?

Sandy Wells said...

This was so fun. I remember Sadie Hawkins Dances at school. And I always love Lil' Abner. I learned a lot today. Thank you so much.


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