Leap Year is February 29Of all the months of the year to add a day to, why did they pick February? I would have voted for May or June or maybe September, but February? Someone needs to pay for this….

In the meantime, here are some fun Leap Year Day facts:

1. People who are born on February 29 are sometimes called Leaplings. They celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1 (there’s no hard and fast rule on that) on non-leap day years.

2. An extra day is added every four years to balance the calendar. Contrary to what you learned in school, a year is not 365 days long; it is 365.24219 days long. The Julian calendar (we’re using the Gregorian calendar now) did not adjust for this difference and the calendar got out of sync with the seasons. Now an extra day is added (again, why February?!) every four years except for century years that are not exactly divisible by 400 (got that?)

3. In some cultures Leap Year Day is the day that women may propose marriage to a man, or it is the day that women can ask a man on a date. In America, it is sometimes the occasion to hold a Sadie Hawkins dance, named for a character in the Lil’ Abner comic strip who was looking for a husband.

4. It’s called a “leap year” because the extra day means that a calendar date (such as your birthday) which falls on consecutive days of the weeks during non-leap years, will skip a weekday this year thus “leaping” over a day. For instance, if your birthday fell on a Monday last year, this year it will fall on a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday (clear as mud, right?)

You can find more fun calendar facts like this for every day of the week in Chase’s Calendar of Events. Ask for it at the Reference desk.

One Thought on “4 Fun Facts About Leap Year

  1. Yeah, let’s have an extra day in a nice warm month! Like that would make winter any shorter. Hey, I can dream. Great factoids.

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