Happy Leap Day! Here’s to quadrennial traditions and the artichoke.

We are now officially entering a leap year — when each day forthcoming is a day later than it was last year. Today is the day that initiates this leap. I like to think of it as the day when we finally get to live the 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds denied us the previous calendar years. That’s a big day…. of nothing.

There are no parades, holiday pay, retail sales, wishes of good luck for the future, nor musings of time gone by. This ever so important day becomes just a blip.

You might find the blogisphere running rampant with leap day posts or a company running ever so many cheesy leap day images to go with leap day promotions. I’m guilty of both. By tomorrow, March 1, they will all be forgotten. There will be no songs or tales of Ol’ Leap Day. The only tradition out there seems to be sitcoms and 19th century operas making Leap Day birthday jokes. Searching, desperately, you can find superstitions that say not to get married and to get married this day to avoid bad luck. Sadie Hawkins engagements are strongly encouraged complete with a cheesy wink, wink, nudge, nudge, ladies.

I am disappointed in us. The world has had 2058 years to come up with some traditions. Yet, with four years in which to plan, we barely acknowledge the day on which we should be having the biggest celebrations ever. Even the celebratory and superstitious Romans and Italians who created Leap Day have let us down.

It’s time to correct this wrong. I’m not just a whiner; I’m also a problem solver. Here’s a few idea to get us started.

∞ Instead of a limbo have party guests participate in a leapbo. How high can you go?
∞ Call it a hop, a bounce, or a leap, but frog racing is all the rage. Place your bets now. Of course, times have changed since 46 B.C. so live frogs are rarely used. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate in this age old tradition. Special edition wind up frogs can be seen filling the shelves of every store.
∞ For good luck be sure to leap your way into the year. It’s tradition that at 11:59:59 on February 28, everyone rings in the day with a leap.
∞ Of course, let’s not forget the food. Leap Day started in Rome so Italian food is a must. Wine, artichokes, and bread will be a part of everyone’s leap day feast.

Artichoke and Kalamata Olive Salad

1 can artichoke hearts
sunflower oil
white wine vinegar
dried herbs and spices (such as thyme, oregano, bay leaf, red pepper, salt and pepper)
lemon peel slices
garlic clove
10 kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
sliced bread

Marinate the artichoke hearts overnight. Combine the oil, vinegar, herbs and spices, garlic, and lemon peel in a container with the artichoke hearts. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove the artichokes from the marinade. Discard the garlic and other large bits, but keep the liquid. Chop up the olives and artichoke. You can put it all back into the marinade. Combine with the parsley. Add a little more white wine vinegar if needed.

Toast or grill the bread. Top with the artichoke mixture.

Call this part of the series of holidays that should be. Other posts in the series:

Friend Day Deserves Pistachio Blueberry Loaf Cake with Honey Butter


Yogurt Cheese Picnic Day Dinner


A parting thought: 2012 is extra special because on June 30 we get an extra second. What will you do with yours?

One thought on “Happy Leap Day! Here’s to quadrennial traditions and the artichoke.

  1. Forgot to tell you- this sounds yummy! Now I know what to do with left over kalamata olives. Thanks for sharing, Brynne!


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