The Facts Behind February 29th

This year is a leap year which adds an extra day to February giving the year 366 days. The additional day added to February occurs every four years. So, why do we need the extra day?

A leap year is needed in order to keep our modern day calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolution. For the Earth to circle around the sun once it takes about 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.  This causes our modern day calendar to be about 6 hours off every year! Because of this, after 100 years our calendar would be off by about 24 days. In order to make sure that our modern day calendar stays in alignment with our Earth’s rotation around the sun, there’s an extra day added to the calendar every 4 years!

But, it’s not as simple as “every 4 years”, there are three other areas of criteria that the year must meet to qualify as a leap year:

  • The year can be evenly divided by 4.
  • If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it’s not a leap year unless;
  • The year is also evenly divisible by 400.

Fun Facts About Leap Year

  • Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year in 46 B.C. with the only rule being that any year evenly divisible by four would be a leap year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced the additional rules 1,500 years later.
  • It’s tradition that on Feb. 29th women ask for their boyfriends’ hand in marriage. This can be attributed to St. Patrick and St. Brigid of Kilcare making a deal with each other - the saints agreed that women could propose on Feb. 29th.
  • There’s a leap year club! The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies is a club for those born on Feb. 29th.
  • The cities of Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico hold a 4 day festival to celebrate the additional day. The festival even includes a huge birthday party for all leap year babies!
  • Celebrity leap year babies include: composer Gioacchino Rossini, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, jazz musician Jimmy Dorsey, actors Dennis Farina and Antonio Sabato Jr., and rapper Ja Rule.

Comment below with how you plan to spend your extra day this year!


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