5 things worth knowing about Leap Day and Leap Year
Feb 29, 2020, 4:15 AM
Every four years there’s an extra day on the calendar. That day is Feb. 29, known as Leap Day.
There is an expansive mathematical reason for the added 24 hours. We’ll get to a short version of that later.
In the meantime, here are five quick facts about Leap Day, which falls on Saturday this year.
Call them ‘leaplings’
The History Channel said about 5 million people across the globe have been born Feb. 29, the odds of which are 1-in-1,461.
Notables born on the day are few and far between but they include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, gold medal-winning American Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones and singer-songwriter Mark Foster of the alt rock band Foster the People.
Happy birthday … whenever that is
If your actual birthday only comes along every four years, when is the party? And how old are you, anyway?
The List TV Show said a lot of hospitals and even parents change the date when babies were born on the birth certificate. The official date was either Feb. 28 or March 1.
As if they weren’t special enough, there is a club for leaplings.
Good on this date only
Back in the day, Feb. 29 was the one day when women could propose to their boyfriends. The story goes one day in 5th-century Ireland, patron saints Patrick (yes, that one) and Brigid were talking and she complained that women had to wait quite a while for their fellas to propose marriage.
Feb. 29 seems like a good time for women to do the asking, Patrick decided.
Waiting until then has pretty much gone out the window now.
Farmers in Scotland used to believe leap year meant bad news for their livestock, according to Scotsman.com. No specifics, just a general bad luck like Friday the 13th thing.
Here comes the math
Leap year was set to help adjust the Gregorian calendar that we in America abide by. This is how we keep the 365 days aligned with Earth’s rotation around the sun.
The thing is, it actually takes 365.2421 days to get around the big fiery ball of a star. Eventually it adds up to skewing the calendar by a day every 3,030 years.
To drive even further into the exactitude, there is sometimes a Leap Second but it doesn’t coincide with Leap Day.
The hardworking folks at the Time and Date website think there might be a Leap Second on Dec. 31.
The last one was Dec. 31, 2016, at 11:59:60 p.m.