Every school child knows that it takes 365 days for the Earth to orbit around the Sun. Or does it?
Since the Second Century BC, Greek mathematician and astronomer, Hipparchus, had (accurately) calculated the precise number of days of an Earthly orbit: 365 days + 1/4 of a day - 1/300 of a day. Unfortunately, when the Julian Calendar was instituted in 45 BC, the extra 1/300 was ignored and a single leap day was added every fourth year. After a few centuries, however, the seasons and equinoxes were becoming mis-aligned with the annual calendar. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1582, the "extra" allotted leap days (since 45 BC) were "taken back" and a new pattern was instituted: add an extra leap day every fourth year except when the year is evenly divisible by 100 (unless it is also evenly divisible by 400). Voila! Hipparchus wins!
Several myths and customs have sprung-up around Leap Day. Irish legend tells us that Saint Brigid, who was a follower of Saint Patrick, attempted to convince her mentor that women should be allowed to propose to men on Leap Days. In some circles of European gentry, when a man refuses the proposal of a woman on a Leap Day, he must buy her 12 pairs of gloves. Many famous "Leaplings" were born on 29 February, including Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini, band leader Jimmy Dorsey, singer Dinah Shore, serial killer Aileen Wuornous and Aids activist Pedro Zamora.
Now, brace yourself for another leap. This little brass frog—completed with a verdigris bronze finish—sits upon his rock, ready to "leap" into the pond. Find him in our on-line store by clicking on the photo above.
And get ready for the next Leap Day in 2024.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248