What is Leap Year, Anyway?
If you’ve been on enough trips around the sun, you’re probably familiar with leap year. Every four years, we get an extra day in the calendar when February ends on the 29th, rather than the 28th. But do you know why?
Leap Year Facts:
It was invented by Julius Caesar.
Around 45 B.C. Julius Caesar, who ruled the Roman Empire, created Leap Year. He invented the concept to help the solar calendar better align with the calendar that people kept to track the seasons.
It actually takes about 365 and ¼ days for Earth to make a trip around the sun each year. A leap year takes care of that little snippet of a day by saving it up. Every four years, an extra day is added to the end of February.
A little background:
The 365-day calendar dates all the way back to the Egyptian Empire. The goal was to create a calendar that paralleled the solar calendar to keep the seasons on track.
Around 3,000 years later, Caesar created a 12-month, 365-day calendar based off the Egyptians. When they realized that the Earth actually has 365.24 days per year, Caesar created Leap Year once every four years to make sure the man-made and solar calendars align.
- 4 million people around the globe are leap day babies. There is a 1 in 1,461 chance of being a leap day baby.
- It is a tradition for women to propose to men on leap day. One old Irish legend says that St. Patrick started the tradition to balance the roles of men and women.
- In Scotland it is considered unlucky to be born on leap day. In Greece it's unlucky to be married in a leap year.
- The leap year capital of the world is Anthony, Texas, on the border of New Mexico. Since 1988, the town has welcomed leap day babies and the public for a festival with a parade and birthday cake.
Because leap year is only once every four years, February 29 is often honored by special events or sales, so be on the lookout for local restaurants that will offer freebies or discounts on leap day.
What will you do with your extra day this year?
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.