Despite all the scientific discoveries of recent years, technical advances and pragmatism of the younger generation, some superstitions are still an integral part of our life. Many of them are associated with the leap year, which has always been associated with various misfortunes, tragedies and losses. Apparently, two sixes in 366 days look too scary. How else to explain the fact that with the advent of a leap year, our consciousness is rebuilt, preparing for the worst?
Our ancestors were convinced that in a leap year, misfortunes happen everywhere: the harvest dies, and the cattle dies, and marriages fall apart. It was believed that children born in this "terrible" year (especially on its most mystical day - February 29), would be doomed to a miserable life, which could end very early. “In a leap year, the pony grows in the wrong direction,” says the famous English proverb.
Among different peoples, superstitions regarding a leap year are slightly different. However, the Slavs, the Celts, and the ancient Romans agreed that nothing good could be expected. In Russia, as in many other countries, the leap year was perceived as an inevitable disaster, from which there is no salvation. The Slavs had a widespread legend about Saint Kasyan, who betrayed God and went over to the side of the Devil. The punishment of the Almighty was severe: the traitor was beaten on the forehead with a hammer for three years, and in the fourth year he was released to Earth, where the embittered Kasian tortured people in revenge for his sufferings. According to another version, Kasyan served at the gates of hell. Only once every four years - on February 29 - was he allowed to leave his post. Therefore, on this day, the Slavs preferred not to leave the house at all, fearing the evil deeds of the servant of Satan.“Kasyan will look at the cattle - the cattle is falling; on a tree - the tree dries up,”said our ancestors, locking the doors and shutters of their houses.
Where did these irrational fears associated with a leap year come from? Most likely, among the ancient peoples, accustomed to associating natural phenomena with spiritual forces, a leap year was associated with an anomaly. In other words, something went wrong with nature when an extra day is added every four years. Whatever it is - the punishment of the gods or the tricks of evil entities - do not expect good.
But you and I live in the 21st century and can turn to official statistics to prove or disprove the myths that have arisen around the leap year. So let's look at the facts. Almost all large-scale tragedies and world upheavals of previous centuries occurred in years that were not leap years: World War I - 1914, World War II - 1939, the worst flood in the history of mankind - 1887, the sinking of the Titanic - 1912 and etc. At the same time, it was leap years that gave us many geniuses and outstanding artists, including Mikhail Glinka, Johann Strauss, Leo Tolstoy, Konstantin Khabensky and Audrey Tautou.
It is also curious that, judging by the statistics of Moscow registry offices, a leap year does not affect the number of divorces (it remains approximately at the same level as in other years), but, on the contrary, there are even more people willing to marry. Perhaps this positive trend indicates that belief in outdated superstitions is waning. And this is good news.
Why do we need a leap year at all?
In fact, the leap year was not introduced for mystical reasons, but because of the need to synchronize the calendar with astrological cycles. Even in ancient times, scientists found that it takes the Earth a little more than 365 days to complete a revolution around the Sun (to be more precise, 365.2422 days). Therefore, if the calendar year were always the same, chronology would gradually come into complete disarray. In three centuries, January 1 would have come in the fall, and in six - in the summer.
The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Chinese used to be guided by lunar cycles, which average 29.5 days. Thus, each year was 11 days less. People were well aware of the imperfection of this system, regularly adding extra days, but they never succeeded in keeping the calendar in perfect balance. Gradually, the understanding was ripening that a total reform was needed, which would be able to streamline chronology.
At the moment when the famous military leader Julius Caesar met the enchanting Egyptian queen Cleopatra and a romance began between them, the Roman calendar lagged behind real time for almost three months. So Caesar had to briefly distract himself from military campaigns and love pleasures in order to put him in order. In 45 BC. he introduced a new system, fixing a strictly defined number of days in a year (365), and every fourth year ordered to add one more day. The new calendar helped to correct the shortcomings of the previous one, but it was not perfect either. Now, each calendar year lagged behind the complete revolution of the Earth around the Sun by only 11 minutes.
It would seem that not such a terrible error? However, in the 16th century, it turned out that because of her, all important dates, including Christian holidays, shifted by about 10 days. Pope Gregory XIII found the situation unacceptable, so he reformed the calendar again. First, he corrected the error of the Julian calendar: on his order, October 4, 1582, was immediately followed by October 15. Second, he introduced a new rule to avoid such time distortions in the future: now leap years, which are divisible by 100, became common (365 days each). The only exceptions were those that, in addition to this, were divided by 400 - the number of days in them remained equal to 366. Thus, three days were subtracted every 400 years, which made it possible to maintain the ideal balance of the calendar.
Astrologer's recommendations: how to survive 2020 happily
If you still have concerns about a leap year, then you should listen to the opinion of an expert. We talked with astrologer Vera Khubelashvili and figured out how to get out of trouble in the new 2020. Here are three simple tips:
- Do not feed the bad "reputation" of a leap year with thoughts and actions. Don't read all sorts of stories about negative things to come. Do not look for methods of confronting this year, do not think at all that this year is somehow different from the previous ones. A lot of people do this, and nothing - everyone lives happily.
- Don't take risks. Be that as it may, risk is the last thing. In a leap year, or in any other, you shouldn't gamble with something important. There is always a chance of losing it. If you are unlucky, it is always convenient to "blame" the blame on a leap year. But don't do it. Our well-being is in our hands. Be prudent and careful.
- Listen to predictions. Astrological forecasts are a great way to know in advance about the difficulties that may arise in life. If you keep them in mind in advance, then it is easy to change your destiny. That's what forecasts are for. Knowledgeable means armed. And then no leap year is terrible for you (see also: "Astrological forecast for 2020 by the signs of the Zodiac").
“There are, of course, many signs and superstitions about a leap year,” adds the astrologer. “But it's better not to keep them in your head. By signs, we only feed the bad reputation of the year and attract negativity into life. And forbidding yourself a wedding, new beginnings or traveling as a precaution is no longer life, but a game of hide and seek with failure. You can be afraid of negative events every day. There is always a reason. But is this how a happy person lives? Of course not. Live light."
Photo: Getty Images
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