Gregorian calendar - currently in use worldwide (except perhaps the Russian
Leap year every year divisible by four
Except years which are both
divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400.
2000 was a
leap year, but the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not.
The extra rule involving centuries is an additional correction to make up
for the fact that one extra day every four years is slightly too much
correction (0.25>0.242190). This scheme results in the vernal equinox
gradually shifting its date between March 19 and 21, being shifted once
every leap year, and then being abruptly shifted in non-leap centuries (see
The leap year was introduced in the Julian calendar in 46 BC. However,
around 10 BC, it was found that the priests in charge of computing the
calendar had been adding leap years every three years instead of the four
decreed by Caesar (Vardi 1991, p. 239). As a result of this error, no more
leap years were added until 8 AD. Leap years were therefore 45 BC, 42 BC, 39
BC, 36 BC, 33 BC, 30 BC, 27 BC, 24 BC, 21 BC, 18 BC, 15 BC, 12 BC, 9 BC, 8
AD, 12 AD, and every fourth year thereafter (Tøndering), until the Gregorian
calendar was introduced (resulting in skipping three out of every four
centuries). The UNIX command cal incorrectly lists 4 AD as a leap year (Vardi
Traditions & Customs
Irish legend or history – In 5th century St Bridget made a deal with St
Patrick to allow women to propose to men; possibly introduced to balance
traditional roles of men and women like leap year balances the calendar.
Scotland legend or history – Queen Margaret brought in a law setting fines
for men who turned down proposals by women in a leap year. Sceptics pointed
out she was 5 years old and living in Norway at that time
“Bachelor’s Day” – Man was expected to pay a penalty if he refused a woman’s
marriage proposal on Leap Day. This could be a gown or money.
In European countries, esp. upper class, if a man refused a proposal he had
to buy the woman 12 pairs of gloves so she could hide the fact that there
was no engagement ring on her finger.
Also called St Oswald’s Day in memory of the Archbishop of York who died on
February 29, 992
On February 29, 1692 the first warrants were issued for the Salem witch
The chance of being born on Feb. 29 is about 1,461 to 1.
A person born on Feb. 29 is referred to as a “leapling” or “leaper”
Leap Year 1888
Midway Hotel had an informal opening on Feb. 18 and a formal opening Feb.
22, followed by a leap year party on Feb. 24 “given by the young ladies of
Kearney. They were the first of many elaborate social functions, described
in detail by Maud Marston, society editor of the Enterprise.”
“Hotels of Kearney, Part I, by Margaret Stines
Nielsen, Buffalo Tales, September 1987
HUB - Leap Year
December 4, 1890
The Ladies were Galiant
The young people belonging to the Good Templars lodge are known for their
sociability, and when they engineer a social gathering it usually furnishes
a good time for those who attend. Such was the case last evening at the
residence of W. C. Holden. Although this isn’t leap year, the arrangements
for the social were somewhat on that order. The ladies invited the gentlemen
to supper and promptly paid for the same. The usual amusements were indulged
in and a pleasant evening was the result.
January 7, 1892
Leap Year Party
Invitations are out announcing the fact that the young ladies of this city
will give a leap year party Tuesday evening at the Midway. The young
gentlemen who[have] been favored with this invitation are on the tiptoe of
expectancy but will remain at home on that evening unless called for you may
January 9, 1892
The HUB establishment is proof against the dangers of leap year. Every male
of marriageable age is already provided with a wife, and there are about a
round dozen of them.
January 11, 1892
--Great preparations are being made for the leap year party tomorrow evening
at the Midway hotel.
January 13, 1892
A MEMORABLE OCCASION
Leap Year Party at the Midway Hotel Last Night
An Occasion Long to be Remembered
--A Few Original Suggestions Given the Gentlemen
--Magnificent Floral Decorations
Leap Year parties are invariably a success. There is a particular
attractiveness to the very announcement of such an event that increases in
interest and finally culminates in the occasion itself. To the uninitiated
the appearance of so many covered carriages on the streets last night would
not have been attended with any particular significance; the intelligence
that these conveyances enclosed so many ladies who for once in four years
were improving the opportunity of doing gentlemen’s honors, would at once
change an everyday experience to a novelty. For once, perhaps the first
time, the ladies took the gentlemen’s places and the gentlemen were forced
whether or no to accept the situation gracefully or with as much grace as
Safely ensconced in his carriage and carefully covered up with buffalo robes
by his dutiful escort the gentleman in his new role was at once taken to the
Midway hotel and shown to a dressing room. As a substitute for corsage or
hair decoration his lady presented him with a button-hole bouquet consisting
of a beautiful tea rose or carnation pink with smilax.
The ladies showed a marked degree of attention throughout the evening and in
many instances outdid the gentlemen in their thoughtfulness.
Entering a spacious dance hall the gentlemen were ushered to seats where the
draft would not strike them while the ladies with fan in hand stood over
them and made flattering remarks about the elegant costumes or gushingly
remarked on their beautiful appearance. The gentlemen in turn smiles, became
hysterical, and hid their blushes behind the capacious lapels of their
The dance programs were very unique of design and represented an ivy leaf in
relief running over the cover. Within were the names of the patrons, Messrs
Juan Boyle, E. C. Caulkins, R. L. Downing and W. B. Vance. On the opposite
page neatly printed, were sixteen dance numbers, and the back contained the
names of the floor committee, Miss Laura Finch, Miss Mary Keck, Miss Jennie
Maxwell, and Miss Belle Early.
The music was furnished by an orchestra of entirely home talent, Fred
Cooper, violin; Mrs. McKeough, piano; Theo. Miller, cornet; and Mr. Schillo,
clarinet, and placed near the east end of the hall, to accommodate parties
wishing to dance in the parlors where the floor had been crashed.[?] Tables
for card playing were also furnished in the upper hallways.
Forty-four couples were invited to partake of a most sumptuous repast served
in the ladies ordinary. The tables besides being loaded down with the most
delicious dainties beautifully trimmed with cut flowers and smilax.
The occasion besides being a most enjoyable one will be one to be long
remembered for its uniqueness, its novelty, its suggestiveness.
Monday, February 29, 1892 – no Hub
Tuesday, March 1, 1892
Dancing party that evening at the opera house, large room on 5th floor
Adjoining room was reception room and card room for those who wanted to play
Hosted by two Kearney society couples
50 couples attended
Many ladies in formal evening dress [means men did not wear tux’s]
Music by the Midway orchestra.
Buffet catered in ball room late in the evening
Leap year surprise party given at a home in honor of one of the daughters.
Dancing, visiting, card playing until 11 when a supper was served. Those
attending included the honoree and 7 other girls, 8 boys, and others
July 19, 1892
--This is leap year. Girls, set the boys a good example by inviting them to
partake of a delicious ice cream to be served at the Baptist church lawn
December 22, 1892
--The social event of the season will be given at the Midway hotel Saturday
evening in the nature of a grand leap year ball. Invitations are now out,
and the dressmakers and tailors are busy.
December 31, 1892
Closing Leap Year Party
This evening a few young people will meet at the home of Miss Emma Lindgren,
on third avenue and go to the lake the old year out and the new year in. As
soon as 1893 is firmly established and old Father Time has given the glass
another turn, the party will return to Miss Lindgren’s and have
refreshments. From all indications at present it will be a very pleasant
Wednesday, February 26, 1896
“Death on a Train
Morris Newberg, a young gentleman apparently between twenty-five and thirty
years of age, died suddenly on the fast mail at Elm Creek at 11:45 this
morning. Deceased was a victim of consumption. He was traveling alone from
Denver to Winona, Wisconsin. There was found on his person $10.85 in money
and a silver watch and chain. Undertaker Costello was telegraphed from Elm
Creek to meet the remains upon their arrival in Kearney. Mr. Costello took
charge of the remains and will await further orders from the Union Pacific
March 2, 1896 -
Undertaker Costello is still in ignorance of what he is to do with the
remains of Morris Newberg.
[Newberg was buried March 4 in the Kearney cemetery]
Saturday, February 29, 1896
Sparagus Kidney Pills - A patent medicine prescribed by doctors for kidney and urinary tract troubles.
Extract of asparagus
Extract of buchu – native bush of South Africa, leaves dried and used for
urinary, kidney, &
A diuretic. Aromatic – also used in perfumes & to flavor
Extract of pareira brava – A woody climbing vine from Brazil, yields a
extract used for kidney
stimulation and urinary tract irritation, diuretic
Extract of juniper berries – diuretic. Gin was developed in the Netherlands
in 1600’s intended to
be a medication.
Besides being a diuretic, the berries were thought to be
appetite stimulant and remedy for rheumatism and
arthritis. Name “gin” comes
from French (genièvre) & Dutch (jenever) words for juniper
Extract of Uva Ural – a bush with leaves which are a weak diuretic
Extract of corn silk – a diuretic, used for treatment of inflamed urinary
Monday, March 2, 1896
William Woodburn of Shelton was summoned for jury duty. He had lived in
Shelton for nearly four years and this was the first time he had been to
“Parties arrested about a week ago for contempt of court were arraigned in
district court today and were released on condition that they remove the
building which they were enjoined from moving to its former location by
June 9, 1896
– Leap Year picnic was enjoyed by about 40 of Kearney’s young people. The
ladies furnished the rigs for transportation to the picnic grounds at
Eagle’s Grove on the Wood River. They also furnished hammocks and two cases
of ginger ale. The gentlemen arranged for the lunch.
[1900 – no Feb 29]
February 12, 1903 – Ladies gave a Valentine’s dance at the Armory.
It was a leap year event in that the girls controlled everything. Although
it is difficult to decorate the Armory they put red shades on the lamps and
arranged one corner with rugs and soft pillows. Pillows also decorated the
front of the stage. One of the rules of the event was that among the married
couples, each lady would bring someone else’s husband. On the first time
through the hall for the grand march, each lady received a pink carnation
which she then presented to her partner for a boutonierrre
January 23, 1904
LADIES GIVE BOWLING PARTY
Entertained Friends Most Royally on Friday Evening
A number of young ladies of the city entertained their gentlemen friends
last evening at a leap year bowling party given at the Miller alleys.
The party passed the evening most pleasantly while playing ten pins and four
back being divided into teams as follows: Misses Everson, Switz and Parrish,
and Messrs Brown, Downing, Sinclair, and Douglas. The opposing team
consisted of Misses Wilkes, Hoover, Sylvia Yensen and Ruth Black, and Messrs
Hollingsworth, Bessie, and Robinson.
The former team was successful in all three games played, the first two
being ten pins and the last, four back.
After the bowling the party proceeded to the Holt café, where the tables had
been previously decorated by the young ladies and had been most artistically
arranged and partook of a delicious supper.
April 6, 1904
YOUNG LADIES ENTERTAIN
Give Leap Year Ball at Midway Tuesday Evening
The most unique and enjoyable dance which has been given in this city for
some time was held at the Midway dancing parlor Tuesday evening as a
compliment from the young ladies to the young gentlemen of the city.
The hall had been made more cheerful and cozy by the prolific use of fancy
sofa pillows, etc. During the evening ices were served by Hager.
The programs used were probably the most unique which had ever been used in
this city, having been arranged by the young ladies and represented the
various occurrences in life from the time of seeing each other until after
Music was furnished by Bettenger’s orchestra and was unusually good.
October 17, 1904
The young ladies gave a leap year dance t the opera house Friday night.
Hobart Swan of Kearney furnished the music.
November 21, 1904
The Leap year party at the residence of C. M. Houston Wednesday evening was
a great success.
January 31, 1908
Ladies of Elks members were
planning a Leap Year party for Valentine’s Day. This was to be “one of the
swellest affairs of its kind that Kearney has ever witnessed.”
March 20, 1908
Normal School girls gave a leap
December 2, 1908
Necktie Social held by United
Brethren Church youth. Boys were to bring two neckties, one to wear and one
to place in an envelope. The girls paid for the envelopes to determine who
would be their supper partner. The boys had to pay for the meal.
February 19, 1932
Leap Year dance in Pleasanton
Recommendation by a HUB columnist that girls make
strawberry jelly or jam (recipes included) and then invite the young man to
a breakfast of strawberry jelly on toast or biscuits and strawberry jam, or
to a supper featuring strawberry jam or pudding or strawberry tarts. “after
that it is up to you.”
January 1937 - Marriage licenses: 1936 – 259; 1937 – 204; 1938 –
192; 1939 – 182
[Was this the effect of Leap Year or
January 6, 1940
Hub Spokes - “heard on the street:
being a bachelor in leap year, I know how a turkey feels before
lady working at the court house said she had already made her marriage
proposal and been accepted. She proposed on New Year’s Day.
March 1, 1944 – Sadie Hawkins Day party at the USO on Tuesday, [Feb
29th] attended by 200 service men, junior hostesses in costume, and
chaperones. The American Legion and Project club of Gibbon served
sandwiches, pie, and coffee at the close of the evening. They also awarded
two free telephone calls to soldiers who used them to call their mothers. A
Private whose birthday was on Feb. 29th received a birthday cake.
March 1, 1952 – PEO party where the ladies entertained their
husbands at the Crystal Room at the Ft. Kearney Hotel. Table centerpieces
were red carnations and miniature figures of men dangling from fish hooks.
Men provided the entertainment with music, slight of hand, and a variation
of “Twenty Questions”.
March 1952 – A Kearney boy and a Sumner boy were honored at their
3rd birthdays at two different parties. Each had 12 candles on his cake. In
1932 a Kearney boy celebrated his first birthday. (He was 4)
March 8, 1952 – KSTC had a leap year dance. Music was provided by
Roland Morris and his all-girl band.
Hub – Sadie
November 14, 1940
– Friday, Nov. 15 was designated Sadie Hawkins Day at the Teachers college.
Girls escorted boys to the Pi Kappa Delta dance. Prizes for the best costume
of a character from Al Capp’s Little Abner comic strip
November 23, 1946 – Sadie Hawkins Day lasted all week at the
Teachers College culminating with a dance on Friday night.
October 19, 1948 – Plans were being made for the annual Sadie
Hawkins Day dance scheduled on Nov. 12.
November 18, 1948 – The freshman class at the junior high also had
a Sadie Hawkins Day dance.
November 3, 1950 – The annual Sadie Hawkins Day dance at KSTC
included a beard growing contest.