Wednesday, February 29, 2012

amazing facts about leap year

What is a leap year?

A leap year is a year in which one extra day has been inserted at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days.

The extra day, the 29 February, is the 60th day of a leap year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 306 days remaining.

Why is it called a Leap Year?

Hundreds of years ago the leap year day had no recognition in English law. The day was 'leapt over' and ignored, hence the term 'leap year'.

Why do we have a leap Day?

The 29 February is known as a leap day and it is added to the calendar during a leap year. This extra day is added every four years to bring the solar year of 365¼ days into line with the calendar year of 365 days.

A Leap Day Tradition

The one day of the year on which, traditionally, women can propose to men. It was considered that as the day also had no legal status, it was reasonable to assume that tradition had no status, so women took advantage of this and proposed to the man they wanted to marry.

A law once existed in Scotland forbidding a man to refuse a proposal made to him. Punishment for such an offence was a large fine.

 According to legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick in fifth-century Ireland about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. St. Patrick's solution was to allow women one chance that only came around every four years to take the initiative. In 1288 Scotland supposedly made the tradition a law and any man who declined a proposal in a leap year had to pay a fine ranging from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Today North Americans call this tradition Sadie Hawkins Day, invented by Al Capp in his cartoon strip Li'l Abner, but there is debate over whether it's Feb. 29 or Nov. 15 -- the date the cartoon was first published.

Leap Day Superstition

In Scotland it is thought unlucky to be born on a Leap Year’s Day.

Greek superstition claims that bad luck will come to couples that marry during a leap year. Allegedly one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.

Interesting Fact about Leap Years

You can work out which year will be a year year by dividing the year by 4. Years which are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004 and 2008 are leap years. However, there are some exceptions in century years.
Years that are evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years.

A century year, that is, a year which ends in two zeroes 1800, 1900, 2000, etc., is not a leap year unless it is also evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year and 2400 will also be one, but 1800 and 1900 were not leap years. Can you work out other century years which wont be leap years either? ( 2100, 2200, and 2300).

By the Numbers

-- The chances of a leap birthday are one in 1,461 -- long odds for getting the short end of the stick. Imagine waiting four years for your real birthday and hearing endless jokes about being three when you're really 12.

-- The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904 and it won't happen again until 2096 to 2104.

-- There were five Fridays in February 2008 -- the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between 1904 and 2096, leap day occurs on the same day of the week every 28 years, so the last time February had five Fridays was in 1980 and next time will be in 2036.

-- According to global statistics, there are about 4.1 million people worldwide born on Feb. 29.

-- Norway's Henriksen siblings are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The three siblings were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi Henriksen, 1960; Olav Henriksen, 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen, 1968.

-- The Keogh family has three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland in 1940; his son Peter Eric was born in the United Kingdom in 1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in the United Kingdom in 1996.


Someone born on leap day may be called a leapling. They usually celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1 in common years.


In 1988, Time magazine proclaimed Superman to be born on Feb. 29, making the superhero a leap day baby!

1980 -- Simon Gagne, Canadian hockey player and NHL All-Star.

1976 -- Ja Rule, American rapper and actor.

1972 -- Saul Williams, American rap poet and actor.

1972 -- Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-born soap star whose credits include The Bold and the Beautiful, Melrose Place and General Hospital.

1968 -- Bryce Eric Paup, football player, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 and a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

1960 -- Tony Robbins, American self-help author, infomercial fixture and motivational speaker.

1944 -- Dennis Farina, ex-Chicago police officer turned actor with memorable roles in Get Shorty and Law & Order.

1940 -- Billy Turner, a successful trainer of thoroughbreds including Seattle Slew, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1977.

1940 -- Gretchen Christopher, vocalist and songwriter who founded The Fleetwoods, one of the '50s most popular doo-wop groups.

1916 -- Dinah Shore, American singer, actress and television personality.

1904 -- Mr. Wolfe Plus 585 Sr., person with the longest official name. With a name for every letter of the alphabet, his full name is Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr.

1904 -- Jimmy Dorsey, prominent American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter and big band leader.

1736 -- Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement, which she brought to America in 1776.

1712 -- General Louis-Joseph Montcalm, hero of the Seven Years War, died in the Battle of Quebec.

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