Leap Day proves lucky for leaplings, makes scholars angry
This year is a Leap Year and today is a “leap day”, and there are probably thousands who have patiently been waiting three years and 364 days to officially celebrate their birthdays and it appears that the waiting has paid off. Thanks to the rise in social media, “Leap Year People”, or “leaplings”, can now have their choice of a variety of birthday presents. A blog, SFGate, has found advertisements for a free ski resort stay, free seafood and steak dinners and even a trampoline park in San Francisco that offers a free jump day for Leap Year birthdays. Before too much jealousy sets in, there are more cons of being a Leap Year baby than the free stuff every four years might be worth. The Canadian Press interviewed a leapling, Peter Brouwer, who created a website that has inadvertently turned into an advocacy group trying to stop “widespread ignorance about Feb. 29.” Apparently, it isn’t uncommon for insurance companies to fail to recognize the Leap Year birth date as valid and even a company like Google was tripped up when Brouwer launched a blog on the company’s platform.
This Leap Year has also given a bit of attention to a couple scholars who believe that the traditional calendar needs to be thrown in the garbage. Richard Conn Henry, an astrophysicist, and Steve Hanke, an economist, two professors at John Hopkins University have created a new, 364-day calendar that boasts consistency, something that our Gregorian calendar is anything but. The two professors, according to CSMoniter.com, claim that a more consistent calendar, one where Christmas always falls on a Sunday and you’re birthday might always fall on a Thursday, would make life better “for the economy and society.” Calculating interest on a mortgage would be simpler, and companies would save time and money that would usually go into arranging their calendars every year. “Our plan offers a stable calendar that is absolutely identical from year to year and which allows the permanent, rational planning of annual activities, from school to work holidays,” said Henry. The professors want this year to be the last Leap Year even though their proposed calendar would “add a week-long “mini-month” (call it a leap week?) at the end of December every five or six years.”
However, unless everyone is on board, their new calendar would never work. The French already tried it with their “Calendrier Révolutionnaire” in 1793; neighboring countries found it difficult to work with the French, who adopted the 10-day week calendar for 12 years, and the Gregorian calendar eventually took over again. People like tradition and the Leap Year is a tradition that won’t go away anytime soon.