Roughly every four years, a special day occurs around the world: leap day! This extra day is added to the end of February to create February 29th. How cool is that!? “The idea of leap year originated with Julius Caesar over 2,000 years ago” (Birch). He had only one rule for his Julian calendar: any year that was divisible by four would be considered a leap year. However, it was then discovered more math is involved than what was originally thought. “In order for a year to be a leap year, it must be divisible by four, but if it can be divisible by 100, it must also be divisible by 400” (Specktor). Below are a few fun facts and stories about this four-year occurrence that will expand your knowledge a little bit more, just like we have an expanded month!
“The revolution around the sun is actually not precisely 365 days. In actuality, it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to make a full revolution around the sun” (Specktor)!
United States leap years tend to almost always coincide with election years.
“If leap year did not exist, we would lose almost six hours a year. After 100 years, the calendar would be behind by roughly 24 days” (Washington)!
“The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies is a club specifically for people born on February 29th. There are now over 10,000 individuals in the club worldwide” (Birch).
“As leap day is considered “rare”, it also observes another important day: Rare Disease Day. It began in 2008 to raise awareness for diseases affecting less than 1 in 2,000 people. Don’t fear though, if it is not a leap year, Rare Disease Day is celebrated on the last day of February” (Birch).
“Leap day also comes with some social customs being turned upside down. The most famous is women are allowed to propose to men. The story goes that St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that it was not fair to have to wait on men to propose. To satisfy her complaint, St. Patrick made February 29th the acceptable day for a woman to ask for a man’s hand in marriage” (Washington).
Leap year has made the 2020 holidays line up perfectly. The extra day means Valentine’s Day lands on Friday, Cinco de Mayo lands on (Taco) Tuesday, and Christmas and New Year’s Day are both perfectly placed on Friday, making for great 3-day weekends!