I’m pretty sure that there is quite a handful of us that find ourselves unaware of the facts regarding Leap Years. Now that a Leap year has come, we became curious and we are desperate to know why we have one extra day stuck to the end of February every four years. Here is a chance to catch up.
Check out this list of 8 facts to know about today the 29th of February, 2016, the Leap Day of the Leap Year.
1. It is all in the fact that the Earth takes 365.2422 days (or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds) to revolve around the sun, not just 356 days.
Leap years are established to keep the four seasons in sync with our calendar. If we had not account for this extra .2422 days that the Earth takes to revolve around the sun, we would lose six hours from our calendar every year. So you do the math, after only 100 years our calendar would be off by 25 days. Let’s see about having winter in a time when we’d be expect spring.
2. Leap Year Day Babies
People born on Leap Days are commonly called “leaplings” or “leapers”. On non-leap years, they would celebrate their birthday on the 28th of February or the 1st of March. Famous leapers include rapper Ja Rule (Leap Day Age: 9; Real Age: 36), actor Dennis Farina (Leap Day Age: 17; Real Age: 68), and male model Antonio Sabato Jr. (Leap Day Age: 10; Real Age: 40). In 1988, Time magazine also proclaimed that Superman was born on February 29 too.
3. Leap Day Historical Events
From Oscar wins to natural disasters, some significant events have occurred on February 29 in the past leap years. In 2004, ‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ won all 11 of the categories it was nominated for at the 76th Academy Awards; and in 1960, an earthquake killed one-third of population of Agadir, Morocco in just 15 seconds. More than 12,000 people died.
4. Leap Year Historical Events
Some quite major things have also happened in just leap years. George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, the Titanic sank in 1912, Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity in 1752, and gold was discovered in California 1848.
5. Leap Year Legends
There are quite a few legends or proverbs about leap years. There is an old proverb that states “leap year was ne’er a good sheep year.” An old Irish legend says that on Feb. 29, women are allowed to propose to men. If the man declines the proposal, he must pay the woman a fine, whether in a kiss, a pair of gloves or money for a silk dress.
6. Leap Day Baby Family Record
The Guinness World Records has a verified record of a family producing three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. The Koegh’s family had Peter Anthony Keogh born in Ireland in 1940; his son, Peter Eric, born in the U.K. in 1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth also born in the U.K. in 1996.
7. Leap Year Capital
The twin cities of Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico, are the self-proclaimed Leap Year Capital of the World. Each year they host a four-day leap year festival which comes as a huge birthday party for people born on a leap year.
8. Leap Months in Other Countries
While our modern Gregorian calendar adds only one leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, the Chinese add a whole leap month every three years.