Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hundreds of Batswana couples dare the leap day curse

Hundreds of couples around Botswana who tied the knot on Thursday February 29th will never get to celebrate major milestones of their union, even if they survive the leap day curse.

In Botswana the banns of marriage are published on Thursdays for a period of 21 days which lapses on a Thursday. The purpose of banns is to enable anyone to raise any impediments to the marriage, so as to prevent marriages that are invalid.

The year 2024 however is a leap year, and February 29th comes after every four years. This means couples who got hitched last week will not be able to celebrate their wood, tin or aluminum and crystal anniversaries of their marriages.

And it gets worse: According to superstition, leap day marriages are said to be a bad omen. In accordance with Greek customs, marrying during a leap year, particularly on a leap day is considered unlucky and the marriage will lead to divorce.

Since the 16th century, leap years was an invention of the Gregorian calendar, to address a discrepancy in the solar year. Bearing in mind it takes around 365.2422 days each year for the Earth to revolve around the sun, the extra snippet (around six hours a year) adds up over time. Leap days regulate things — without them we would fall out of sync with the seasons, causing havoc for farmers and their crops as well as school holidays. But, cultures around the world hold difference significance of this day as some consider leap year as opportunity while some consider leap days, months as bad luck.

In Scotland, there exists a belief that people who are born on a leap day will experience a life filled with hardships. Not just this, but overall, some consider leap year as a bad year for farmers. Some reports of superstitions linked to the year are that the number of deaths also suddenly rises and many people die in that particular year.

In Taiwan, it is believed that elderly parents are more prone to passing away every four years. So, for their long life, married daughters are expected to come back home during leap years with pig trotter noodles for their parents as the noodle dish is believed to convey wishes of good health and fortune for the ageing parents. This soup is served to the parents throughout the month, specifically on 29 February.

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