Every four years there is a year that stands out among the others for several reasons; one of which is that it has a whole extra day. This year is the 2016 Leap Year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days; meanwhile it also the year that the 2016 Summer Olympics take place in Rio and the US Presidential election will be held in November.
Make your Leap Year memorable this year by trying one or two of the 29 Fun things to do on Lear Year Day.It only comes around every four years, so make it count.
The extra day that Leap Year provides is positioned at the end of February on day twenty nine. Babies that are born on Leap Year Day tend to celebrate their birthday on March first for consistency. Ready to learn some Leap Year fun facts and trivia?
Leap Year poem
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.
Leap Year trivia tidbits
The town of Anthony, Texas, organizes a leap year festival. It proudly calls itself the leap year capital of the world and leap year “babies”, or leaplings, around the world come to its parade.
Nothing really significant in history has happened on Feb 29, although the people of Haiti might see it differently. It was eight years ago to the day that power-hungry President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned.
In Greece, people believe it is bad luck to get married in a leap year. On the other hand, in Ireland, women can propose to a man.
According to a tale dating back to fifth century Ireland, St Brigid complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for men to propose marriage, and so he decided that in a leap year, women could take the initiative. However, if some sources are to be believed, Brigid was still a girl when Patrick died, which would make her a very precocious child!
A Scottish law enacted in 1288 – although unsubstantiated – by the unmarried and supposedly five-year-old Queen Margaret that allowed women the right to corner a man with a proposal. Men who refused would have to pay a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Which would you have preferred?
There’s a similar custom in the United States that was born from the famous comic strip L’il Abner by American cartoonist Al Capp. In his fictional town of Dogpatch, there was a character called Sadie Hawkins, who couldn’t attract a husband because she was ugly. Her father then set up a day each year when women could literally chase after the bachelors in town in a race. The unlucky sod who is caught would have to marry the women who nabs him. While the event was held in November in the comic strip, it now seems to be associated with Feb 29.
Superstitious Chinese believe that more accidents and mishaps occur during the leap month in the lunar calendar. They also think that children born in that month are harder to bring up. Nor are they keen to start a business or get married then.
US Presidential elections and Summer Olympic Games are both held every four years and occur in the Leap Year.
How Leap Year started and Leap Year calculations
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 centuries, 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.
Another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year … but 2000 was!
Enjoy your Leap Day, February 29, in this Leap Year and surprise your friends with all of this Leap Year trivia and fun facts!