It would be wrong not to recognise the extra day we have this year. All over social media we are being reminded of the fact it is a Leap Year. Facebook is even posting in timelines reminding people of the fact and asking what we are doing with the extra day? Wow – the pressure! We have an extra day and we really should do something wonderful with it – all that extra time we have that we don’t usually get. Yes that pressure. The reality is that most people will spend it the same way as any other day – working, shopping, doing the chores, watching TV etc. Nothing special at all because the reality is that is what life is like. It won’t feel like we have an extra day – it’s just another day in another week.
Yes there may be some people who will find this day a special one. Those who have their birthdays today (called ‘leaplings’) will enjoy celebrating their birthday on their actual birthday. Some ladies will take the opportunity to pop the question and propose marriage to their partners (a tradition from the UK and Ireland Wikipedia tells us). Whereas Greeks consider it unlucky to get married in a Leap Year.
I must admit that it never occurred to me before now how other countries accommodate the extra day in a Leap Year – I merely assumed everyone did the same. However, there are calculations and reasons why different regions do different things. Now nothing could bore me more than talking about stars, planets and the solar systems so I’ll let you, dear reader, look up the facts if you so wish. I’m not going to regurgitate them here.
So I’m in Bangalore and the extra day has pretty much gone unremarked here. The Indian National Calendar organise their leap years so that the leap day is always close to 29th February in the Gregorian calendar. This makes it easy to convert dates to or from Gregorian.
In the Hindu calendar (also known as Vikram Samvat), which is a lunisolar calendar, this month is called ‘adhika maasa’ (extra month) and occurs once every 33 to 34 months. This compensates for the approximately eleven fewer days per year in twelve lunar months than the solar calendar. Hindu festivals tend to occur within a given span of the Gregorian calendar. For example: the No Moon during Diwali festival occurs between mid – October and mid – November. The calendar followed in some parts of South India (mainly in Tamil Nadu) is solar. It has a leap year every four years.
So what did I actually do with my extra day? Well I had to deal with security on the complex being ‘disrespectful’ to my housekeeper (allegedly- I’m still investigating); trying to get an electrician to fix the outside lights (unsuccessful); asking the painters to repaint our house number they’ve just painted over (next week apparently); trying to get the Aircon fixed (unsuccessful); doing the grocery shopping and school run with our borrowed driver as well as catching up on emails etc. Nothing notable. Nothing interesting. Just another day in the life of an expat living in Bangalore.
What did you do with yours? Whatever you did, enjoy your Leap Year extra day.