🗓️ On This Day - February 29th
It’s Leap Day, it’s been four years since we last took February to the max, and we’re doing it again today! That’s right - the 29th of February only comes around once every four years, so let’s see what has happened throughout history on this elusive day!
On this day
A sign from the Gods?
In 1504, Christopher Columbus used a lunar eclipse to intimidate the Jamaican natives. He told them that the moon's disappearance was a sign of the gods' anger and that they must return the supplies they had taken from Columbus and his crew.
The eclipse occurred as predicted, and the frightened natives returned the supplies without resistance. Columbus's manipulation of their beliefs was a means of exerting his power and control over them.
Witch hunts abound.
On February 29th 1692, the first people accused of practicing witchcraft were taken to task in Salem, Massachusetts. They were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, a West Indian slave.
The hysteria surrounding the trials led to the arrest and execution of 20 people, and the imprisonment of more than 200 others.
A trip to paradise!
In 1832, Charles Darwin traveled through the tropical forests of Bahia in Brazil. He described the experience as being "in transports of pleasure." During this trip, Darwin collected many specimens and made observations that would later contribute to his theory of evolution.
The diversity of life and the richness of the forests left a lasting impression on him, and his descriptions of the natural wonders he saw helped to bring the beauty and complexity of the natural world to a wider audience!
Hattie McDaniel makes history!
On this day in 1940, Hattie McDaniel made awards history when she was the first-ever African American woman to win an Oscar, or Academy Award. She won the award for her memorable supporting turn as ‘Mammy’ in the classic movie "Gone With The Wind."
McDaniel's achievement was a significant moment in Hollywood history and a landmark in the fight for equal rights and representation. Despite facing discrimination and segregation throughout her career, McDaniel continued to work and make a name for herself in the entertainment industry.
The capital of Leap Year!
The city of Anthony, divided by the New Mexico-Texas border, has declared itself as the "Leap Year Capital of the World."
Mary Ann Brown, a leap year baby born in 1988, had the idea and suggested to the local Chamber of Commerce that a festival be held to celebrate the birthdays of those born on leap years. Since its inception, the Leap Year Festival has continued to grow - and the city of Anthony celebrated its 7th festival in 2016.
Special Days Falling on February 29thThere’s really only one day we celebrate internationally on February 29th - can you guess what it is…?
Probably the most famous Leap day tradition is when established heteronormative gender roles are flipped and women have the right to propose to men!
The tradition of women proposing marriage to men on Leap Day dates back to 5th century Ireland. Legend has it that Saint Patrick allowed women to propose on February 29th after Saint Brigid complained on behalf of shy men.
Similarly in Scotland, Queen Margaret is rumored to have made the tradition law in 1288, with men being fined for refusing proposals. Despite the lack of proof, the tradition has persisted, with men in upper-class society giving gifts of gloves (to conceal their un-ringed right hands) to women if they refuse a proposal.
This page was last modified on March 7, 2023. Suggest an edit