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A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

If you’ve been distracted lately by the romance between some football player and a musician, you may not have realized that February has 29 days this year, not 28. Twenty twenty-four is a Leap Year, but besides delaying the beginning of March, what is the significance of it?

As a matter of science, the earth’s orbit around the sun is not exactly 365 days. It is closer to 365.2422 days. Over time, if the calendar is not adjusted to compensate for nearly an extra quarter of a day each year, the alignment between our calendar and our seasons becomes skewed. So, Julius Cesar with help from the Egyptians invented what we now refer to as Leap Year.

Beyond the science, the quirkiness of adding an extra day once every four years has spawned a number of peculiar traditions and observances. For example, in 5th Century Ireland, Saint Bridget convinced Saint Patrick that women should have a day when they are allowed to propose to a man. Saint Patrick agreed and endorsed women having a day to propose…once every 4 years. Thus, Leap Day became known as Bachelor’s Day.

Adding to the tradition across Europe, Queen Margaret of Scotland decreed that if the man declined the proposal from the woman, he must pay a fine of one pound up to a silk gown. It is unclear why some men paid a pound and others the excessive silk gown fine – maybe it was based in the vehemence of the rejection or whether he declined in public. To further spice up the infrequent occasion, at some point women were allowed to wear red petticoats presumably to signal to the world and the would-be husband that a proposal was at hand. And speaking of hands, in Denmark men who rejected a proposal were required to purchase 12 pairs of gloves so the women could disguise the embarrassment of not having a ring.

In Taiwan, married daughters are required to come home on Leap Day to prepare a meal for their aging parents. And the meal is just not any old meal. Daughters bring and cook the ingredients for Pig Trotter Noodles. What are Pig Trotter Noodles, you ask? Pig trotters are pig’s feet, and rice noodles are stewed in pig’s feet broth. The meal is said to be so delicious that it guarantees good fortune and health to the parents.

In Germany’s Rhineland, boys place a small, ribboned birch tree on the step of a girl they are “sweet on” the night before May Day. However, in Leap Years the roles are reversed, and the girls place the decorated tree at the doors of the boys. It is also tradition that only the girls dance around the May Pole the following day.

Right here in America, the town of Anthony, Texas hosts a four-day-long festival to celebrate Leap Year. People born on Lead Day, known as Leapings or Leap Day Babies, are elevated to celebrity status and people from all over the world visit the town of Anthony to enjoy the food, music, and activities in celebration of Leap Year.

What does all this have to do with My Cup of Tea and Orange Mound?

What all of these traditions, and others not included, have in common is an urging to do something out of the ordinary. They recognize that Leap Year doesn’t happen every day or every year, so it’s a chance to do something different. It’s an extra day to live life in a way that makes a difference for someone.

On this Leap Year, we have a proposal of our own.

Would you consider supporting the ladies at My Cup of Tea by becoming a sustaining donor?

Our sustaining donor program is called The Blend. Members decide how much they want to give, and each month that amount is charged to a credit or debit card. You can join for as little as $10 dollars per month. In addition to receiving gifts based on the amount you donate each month; you will have the joy of knowing that your money is supporting the women of My Cup of Tea in their journey out of poverty. Unlike the Leap Year proposals of old, if you decline, we won’t be looking to collect a silk gown or 12 pairs of gloves.

Doing something unique often involves a “leap of faith.” It wasn’t a Leap Year or a Leap Day, but 10 years ago, we trusted the Lord and founded this tea company and much good has come from it. We ask you to pray and consider taking a leap of your own.