There are 365 days in a calendar year, but did you know that it actually takes the Earth about 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to rotate around the sun? To make up for the difference, every four years we are graced with an extra day called Leap Day, which is coming up this Monday.
You probably remember the number 365 ¼ from an elementary school science class, but bet you didn’t know all of the following fun facts about Leap Year (until now, of course):
- The chance of being born on February 29 is approximately 1 in 1,461.
Those born on this special day are called “Leapers” or “Leaplings”, and typically celebrate their birthday on February 28 or March 1.
- In Leap Years, it is considered “acceptable” for women to propose to men.
Of course, times have changed where there is nothing wrong for women to propose marriage; however, this was not always the case. Legend says that the tradition goes back to the 5th Century Ireland when St. Bridget was complaining to St. Patrick about women having to wait so long for men to propose. He agreed to let women have one day to propose, February 29.
- We add an additional day to the calendar, almost every 4 years.
Julius Cesar first introduced the Leap Year in 46 BC. His only criterion was that the year must be divisible by 4. Unfortunately, this formula produced too many leap years, but wasn’t fixed until the creation of the Gregorian Calendar where two more criteria were added:
If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is not a leap year, unless; the year is also evenly divisible by 400 then it is a leap year.
Many of us will never see a skipped Leap Year. The last skipped Leap Year was in 1900, and the next skipped Leap Year will be in the year 2100.Not all countries add an extra day.
- Rather than adding another day in February, the Chinese calendar adds an entire month every three years. Their last Leap Year was in 2015.
In Ethiopia, the calendar consists of 13 months. The first 12 months have 30 days each and the last month has 5 days in the typical year, and 6 days in a Leap Year.
Remember, it’s not every day that we get an extra 24 hours to spend as we choose! How do you plan to spend your bonus day?
Happy Leap Day from Lions Pride!