Students find eccentric ways to celebrate Leap Day

Lauren Puckett

Feature photo by Avantika Khatri
Today marks Leap Day on 2012’s calendar, a date that only takes place once every four years.
The extra day, based off of the Julian Calendar created by the Romans, is meant to balance the system which gives a year 365 days. In reality, the Earth takes roughly 365 days and six hours to revolve completely around the sun, meaning that over the course of four years, a new span of 24 hours is added.
This 24-hour time period is what the world calls Leap Day.
While the day itself is purely scientific, many consider it as much a holiday as another mark on the calendar. In Ireland, Leap Day has become, by tradition, the only day of the year in which women are allowed to propose to men. This is a tradition backed by Denmark and Finland, where a man must pay a woman 12 pairs of gloves if he refuses her proposal.
There are also those known as “leaplings” or “Leap Day babies,” for the kids born Feb. 29. For them, Leap Day is a rare occasion to celebrate their true birthday, rather than Feb. 28or March 1.
And still some students look for a more thrilling method of celebration. For RBHS that method is the visitation of Leap Day William.
“Basically, the Leap Day tradition is this: You dress in blue and yellow. Those are the colors of Leap Day, like red and green for Christmas,” junior Rebecca Burke-Aguero explained. “And on Leap Day, you get a visit from Leap Day William, who is the patron of Leap Day and he lives in the Mariana Trench—he has gills. And he emerges every four years to trade candy for children’s tears. So if there’s a child crying anywhere, Leap Day William will come and give them candy.”
The tradition of Leap Day William, inspired by an episode of NBC’s “30 Rock,” is a fad that has taken over several of Rock Bridge’s unconventional students. The tradition means an explosion of blazers and a rather overwhelming amount of chocolate and pie.
“I’m dressing in blue and yellow, and if I see anyone crying, I’m going to give them candy,” Burke-Aguero said. “And the traditional food of Leap Day is rhubarb, for no real reason. It’s just a tradition. So I’m going to try and make rhubarb pie, just for fun.”
Yet this unusual tradition is only one of the ways students are rejoicing Leap Day. Still others are contemplating dressing in all green and playing leap-frog in the hallways between classes, Burke-Aguero said.
So whether one is celebrating an actual birthday or the non-existent arrival of Leap Day William, this year’s Leap Day is sure to be an exciting one.
“Leap Day only comes once every four years,” Burke-Aguero said. “It’s an extra day of the year where you can do anything. Real life is for March. On Leap Day, you can do anything.”
By Lauren Puckett