Fun Facts About Leap Year
When is the next leap year? 2016.
So...why the extra day?
It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn't always match up.
That's 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 the 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 2016
This year, watch for stores and other businesses to take advantage of all the hoopla by offering Leap Day sales and specials.
Because the big day arrives on the 29th, look for 29% off clothing, electronics, and even airfare and hotel room packages on the big day.
That includes Ikea offering 29% off 229 products in their catalogue, a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts for only $2.29, and a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza to carryout customers with IDs showing they were born on leap day.
Online Leap Day deals? Don't forget to check out your favorite online coupon site for 24 hour flash sales celebrating Leap Day 2016.
You are 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 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 in years that aren't leap years.
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 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.
The day also plays a pivotal role in the fictional The Pirates of Penzance, the most famous Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera that was later translated to Broadway and the silver screen.
In the story, the hero Frederic realizes his apprenticeship binds him until his 21st birthday, but since his birthday falls on February 29 it means that technically he is only a young lad - and won't reach his 21st birthday until he is in his eighties!
leap year around the Web: