Leap Year Occurs every year divisible by 4 except the turn of the century years,
every fourth is a leap year.
So 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years but 2000 was. The next one will
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”
A. Leap Year
History, Traditions & Customs
Ireland (legend) – 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) –
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
Leap Day also known as “Bachelor’s Day”
– A 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 trials. B.
Celebrating Locally Birthdays
1932 – A Kearney boy celebrated his first birthday. (He was 4, born in 1928)
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. (born in 1940)
[2016 – My cousin’s son is celebrating his 8th birthday this year although
he will be 32, born Feb 29, 1984]
Marriage licenses issued in Buffalo County in the late 1930’s
1936 – 259 Leap year
1937 – 204
1938 – 192
1939 – 182
Ways of celebrating Leap Year’s tradition of role reversal Dances – the most popular activity
January 1892 – Leap Year party at the Midway Hotel
where ladies and gentlemen’s roles were reversed.
Ladies tucked their gentlemen into their buggies with buffalo robe.
Upon arrival at the Midway the gentlemen were escorted to the dressing room
where they were presented,+
not with corsages, but with buttonhole arrangement of roses or carnations
with a piece of greenery.
They were then escorted to seats in the dance hall away from drafts.
Their ladies then stood over them with fans and complimented them on the
elegance of their attire.
The gentlemen blushed and hid their faces in their lapels.
February 12, 1903 – Ladies gave a Valentine’s dance at the
Not Leap Year but the ladies were in charge
Although it is difficult to decorate the Armory they put red shades on the
lamps and arranged one corner
with rugs and soft pillows & put pillows in front of the stage.
One of the rules of the event was that among the married couples, each lady
would bring someone else’s
On the first trip through the hall for the grand march, each lady received a
pink carnation which she then
presented to her partner for a boutonniere.
Other Leap Year Dances put on by the girls – Midway Hotel,
Normal School girls, dance in Pleasanton,
KSTC had a leap year dance. Music by Roland Morris and his all-girl band.
A Picnic June 1896 – Leap Year picnic 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.
[But] The gentlemen arranged for the lunch.
A Bowling Party January 1904 – Several young ladies entertained their
gentleman friends at a bowling party.
Afterword they went to a café for supper at tables the ladies had previously
Other Parties & Socials January 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
December 1908 – Necktie Social held by United Brethren
Boys were to bring two neckties, one to wear and one to place in an
The girls paid for the envelopes to determine who would be their supper
The boys had to pay for the meal.
Feb 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
They also awarded two free telephone calls to soldiers who used them to call
A Private whose birthday was on Feb. 29th received a birthday cake.
Also: January 1940 – Hub Spokes - A young lady working at the
court house said she had already made her marriage proposal and been
accepted. She proposed on New Year’s Day.
“heard on the street: being a bachelor in leap
year, I know how a turkey feels before Thanksgiving.”