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Quirky superstitions about a leap year

Updated: Mar 3

✦ With 2024 being a leap year, we pick out a few superstitions to ponder over.

In Spain, there is a saying regarding a leap year.

"Año bisiesto, ni casa, ni viña, ni huerto, ni puerto." (Leap year, no home, nor vineyard, nor orchard, nor port.)

We could infer the Spaniards are not wild about leap years! Its neighbour Italy thinks the same because "Anno bisesto, anno funesto" (a leap year is a gloomy year). The Scots have a saying “Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year!”. The unfortunate leap year does not seem to be welcome here either!

So why are there negative connotations surrounding a year that simply has an extra day, thanks to good ol' Julius Caesar who introduced this extra day in 45 BC to simplify and align the calendar so as to make up for some additional hours of revolution of the planet?

Astronomical clock leap year | Brilliant Online Magazine Australia Singapore UK | Brilliant Online

Perhaps it's just our brain's way of trying to make sense of something that stands out as different. Labelling it as 'good' or 'bad' gives people the false sense of being able to understand or control things. Let's take a look at some quirky superstitions about the leap year!

Avoid change

Many superstitions about leap years are about avoiding change. Don't start a new business. Don't buy a house. Don't get married. Change (even good ones) can feel destabilising, so it is no wonder people started creating beliefs to deter themselves from making changes. If you see it as a way people try to comfort themselves from the strangeness of a leap year, or from avoiding the anxiety that comes with changes, perhaps you'll start thinking differently about the superstitions, and get that start-up running anyway, pay that deposit on your dream house, and say "Yes, I do!" to your best friend since kindergarten.

Women can propose in a leap year | Brilliant Online Australia Singapore UK | Brilliant Online

Women can propose

Irish legend says that St Brigita agreed with St Patrick that once every four years, women will be allowed to propose to their partners. One could see it as one of the earlier attempts to bring about a wee bit of equality to the genders. However, there is a catch! When this tradition was adopted in Scotland, men who refused the proposal would receive a fine! Nowadays thankfully we do not need to abide by superstitions when it comes to marriage proposals.

...but don't get married!

The Greeks believe that marrying in a leap year will bring bad luck to the couple. And while we're on this topic, make sure you don't break up in a leap year either because it may well signal to the stars and planets that you'll never find love again!

Bad weather in a leap year | Brilliant Online Australia Singapore UK | Brilliant Online

Watch out for bad weather

In Russia, a leap year is thought to be a year of really bad weather. While it's not the sunniest place on earth, such a thought is rather depressing! Climate change has been bringing challenging weather conditions for many countries each year, so perhaps the superstition is not that far off the mark. Beyond preparing for bad weather, it would do the planet some good if we implemented some sustainability practices as well.

Read our sustainability blogs to get some ideas!

When it's a leap year, girls plant a tree in the garden for their knights in shining armour! | Brilliant Magazine Australia
When it's a leap year, girls plant a tree in the garden for their knights in shining armour!

Plant a tree

Talking about sustainability, we rather like this tradition from southern Germany. Boys plant hawthorn in the garden on the night of May 1st for the girl of their dreams. When it's a leap year however, this is reversed and girls plant a tree in the garden for their knights in shining armour! Whether the boys reciprocate or not, it is never a bad idea to plant a tree!

Make the most of the extra day

Rather than worry about superstitions, why not reframe the idea of a leap year and turn it to your advantage instead? It's an extra day we all have in the year and we could think about how to make the most of this extra day. Use the day to do something you love, to be with the people you are grateful for, rather than hide under the blanket until the day passes.

Bring on a bit of witchy magick

And if you really do want that extra bit of boost just in case, check out The Witchy Nook's beautiful range of crystals, kits, potions, herbs and botanicals to surround yourself with an aura of love and protection!

Why not do a bit of smudging as well? Smudging is an ancient ritual that has been practised for centuries using sacred herbs such as sage or cedar. These are burnt and the smoke is said to help clear negative energy and replace it with clean, positive energy.

The Witchy Nook also has various ethically-sourced crystals with different healing powers. Even without a leap year, The Witchy Nook is a magical place to visit and learn about some ancient wisdom!

What will 2024 bring?

Here's a Brilliant challenge for you! Share with us how you are going to turn the leap year around and create your own Brilliant Leap Year belief that's life-affirming and joyful!

Here are some to get you started:

On February 29th, we can:

💡 Have fun in the kitchen cooking with our children

💡 Do our eyes a service and finally book that eye check up that's so long overdue

💡Book a cruise for a loved one and spend some quality time together

💡Start incorporating natural health solutions to boost your wellbeing

💡Sign up for a new exercise routine

Have a Brilliant Leap Year, everyone!❋



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