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6 ways to spend Leap Day in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 13:30 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:40 28 February 2020

Leap Day 2020 has the added bonus of being on a Saturday. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Leap Day 2020 has the added bonus of being on a Saturday. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Why does Leap Day happen – and how can you spend your extra bonus day in Norfolk? Here are some ideas.

Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth launch their new album with a gig at Norwich Arts Centre on Leap Day. Picture: Andi SapeyNorwich duo Sink Ya Teeth launch their new album with a gig at Norwich Arts Centre on Leap Day. Picture: Andi Sapey

Leap Days are added to the calendar to make sure that everything is kept in sync. The Earth's period of orbital revolution around the sun takes around six hours longer than 365 whole calendar days, so to make sure that the seasons continue to align, February 29 is added to the calendar in most years that are divisible by four. It's not just Leap Days that keep us on track. Sometimes an extra second will be added in - the last Leap Second was on December 31, 2016.

Over the centuries various Leap Day customs have emerged - mostly connected to matters of the heart. In Greece, superstition considers February 29 as an unlucky day for couples to tie the knot.

And, of course, there's the archaic tradition of women proposing to men on February 29. It is thought to have originated in Ireland, where legend has it that following a lament from St Bridget that women were not allowed to ask for a man's hand in marriage, St Patrick designated February 29 as a day on which women could propose. This tradition travelled across the Irish Sea, with an added element: if a woman's propsal was rejected, the man had to buy her gloves to cover up that she wasn't wearing an engagement ring.

Of course, it's an extra special day for people who happen to have been born on Leap Day as they get their once-every-four-year opportunity to celebrate on their actual birthday.

Jennifer Saunders stars as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Nobby ClarkJennifer Saunders stars as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Nobby Clark

And for the rest of us, it's the chance to simply make the most of having an extra day, which as a bonus falls on a Saturday. But how should you spend it? Here are some ideas.

1. It's not only rock n roll

At the heart of the music scene in the 1960s and 1970s, Jenny Boyd rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest musical and cultural influencers of the last 50 years, including the Beatles - and she inspired Donovan's hit song Jennifer Juniper. Jenny has a home near Swaffham and her forthcoming autobiography, Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse, is set to be one of spring's must-read books. She'll be signing copies at Ceres Bookshop in London Street, Swaffham, on Leap Day from 10am-1pm.

2. Let's dance

Recently playlisted by BBC 6Music, Norwich dance duo Sink Ya Teeth celebrate the release of their second album, the aptly named Two with a Leap Day gig at Norwich Arts Centre. Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford formed Sink Ya Teeth in a pub, where some of the best ideas happen, and write and record all their music in their living rooms. norwichartscentre.co.uk

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3. Ab fab

Jennifer Saunders has had rave reviews for her Absolutely Fabulous performance as eccentric clairvoyant Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's classic comedy Blithe Spirit at Norwich Theatre Royal this week - and Leap Day is the last chance for you to catch the show before it heads to the West End.

Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are literally haunted by a past relationship when a medium - Madame Arcati - inadvertently conjures up the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, at a séance. When she appears, visible only to Charles, and determined to sabotage his current marriage, life - and the afterlife - get complicated.

There's a matinee at 2.30pm and the evening performance is at 7.30pm. Tickets are limited, but returns may be available at norwichtheatre.org.uk

4. Step back in time

The Sainsbury Centre on the UEA campus is exploring how the Art Deco style shaped the seaside during the 1920s and 30s in its latest major exhibition. In a new age of mass tourism, new coastal resorts were built and existing resorts modernised using the Deco style, with some fine examples in this region, at resorts including Hunstanton.

And the show celebrates iconic examples of seaside architecture, from hotels and apartment blocks, to piers, cinemas and lidos, and reveals how Art Deco became the key style for pleasure, leisure and entertainment. The 130 works include paintings, posters, brochures, drawings, photographs, fashion, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Have a wander and then treat yourself to coffee and cake from Kofra. sainsburycentre.ac.uk

5. Peek inside the wardrobe of wonders

For fashionistas, Norwich Costume and Textile Association's collection is a treasure trove and a fascinating insight into the way we wore. And on Leap Day they'll be opening up their wardrobe of wonders to reveal their collection of fabulous frocks and shoes, intricate embroideries and more from through the decades. It runs from 2-3.30pm and booking is essential as places are limited. Call 01603 495897.

6. Be wowed by world class art

Turner's early masterpiece Walton Bridges has been saved for the nation - and it's currently on show at Norwich Castle Museum, but only for a couple more months. Then it's setting off on a tour of the region and won't be back in the city until 2023. It's believed to be the first oil painting that Turner painted in the open air - and the story behind the famous scene will be revealed at two talks at the museum on Leap Day at 11.30am and 1.30pm. Booking is essential. Phone 01603 495897 or see events.museums.norfolk.gov.uk for full details.


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