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MAIN Arrow to Holidays & Observances Holidays & Observances Arrow to Leap YearLeap Year

Fun Facts About Leap Year

When is the next leap year? Leap Year calendar2024.

A leap year is any year with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. Therefore, leap day in 2024 will fall on Thursday, February 29th.

So...why the extra day?

It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the calendar year didn't always match up.

How come? Because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.

Therefore, as hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.

The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four - 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.

Thankfully, all this intricate plotting will continue to keep us in tune with the seasons over the next several thousand years.


Leap Day 2024

Leap Day Delivery
krispy kreme

Leap Day 2020: Free donuts to hospital
staff who delivered leap day babies.

In 2024 watch for February 29th to suddenly appear on the radar of marketers offering Leap Day sales and specials.

Last leap year, in 2020, for example, Krispy Kreme delivered free donuts to dozens of hospitals who delivered leap day babies on February 29.

Restaurants also offered freebies and discounts to anyone born on February 29 with ID or else all-inclusive meals for $29.

And, as always, look for 29% percent discounts at local stores and retailers as well as $29 specials everywhere else in celebration, Happy Leap Day!


Born on a leap day?

Leap year babies : Anthonio Sabado Jr. & Ja Rule
Leap Day babies: Antonio
Sabato Jr. and rapper Ja Rule.

Anyone born on a leap day is known as a "leapling".

According to astrologers, you were born under the sign of Pisces on February 29. Owing to the unique day on which you arrived into the world, like other leap day babies you are more apt to go your own way and exhibit an independent streak and optimistic spirit.

While they have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate their birthday in years that aren't leap years.


Some famous people born on February 29

Born 1976 - Ja Rule, rapper
Born 1972 - Anthonio Sabato Jr., model & actor
Born 1916 - Dinah Shore, singer
Born 1904 - Jimmy Dorsey, bandleader.
Born 1792 - Gioacchino Rossini, Italian opera composer


Leap Day traditions - no man is safe!

While leap day helped official timekeepers, it also resulted in social customs turned upside down when February 29 became a "no man's land" without legal jurisdiction.

As the story goes, the tradition of women romantically pursuing men in leap years began in 5th century Ireland, when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the fair sex having to wait for men to propose. Patrick finally relented and set February 29 aside as the day set aside allowing women the right to ask for a man's hand in marriage.

The tradition continued in Scotland, when Queen Margaret declared in 1288 that on February 29 a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she fancied. Menfolk who refused were faced with a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves that were given to the rejected lady fair.

A similar modern American tradition, Sadie Hawkins Day, honors "the homeliest gal in the hills" created by Al Capp in the cartoon strip Li'l Abner. In the famous story line, Sadie and every other woman in town were allowed on that day to pursue and catch the most eligible bachelors in Dogpatch. Although the comic strip placed Sadie Hawkins Day in November, today it has become almost synonymous with February 29.


A leap year poem to remember it by

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.

More about leap year around the Web:

 
 

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