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Thank you Leap YearThank you Leap Year


This year, 2020, is a leap year with Leap Day being February 29, 2020. So perhaps it is time to review the science behind Leap Year and Leap Day.

The science is actually pretty simple. Most of the world uses the Gregorian calendar (also called Western or Christian calendar) after it replaced the Julian calendar and its inaccuracies. It was Pope Gregory XIII who first coined the phrase 'Leap Year.'

The 365 days are divided into 12 months and divided into 30 or 31 days, except February, which has 28. Well, except for Leap Year, when it has 29. You may remember the rhyme--Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, etc.

The extra day was added to February, because it had fewer days after the adjustments were calculated by how long it takes the earth to go around the sun. That trip takes five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds longer than 365 days. If the solar year can be divided by either 4 or 400, it's a Leap Year. 

Leap years add a couple seconds per year over time, adding up to 3 extra days over 10,000 years.

An added perk for 2020...Most major holidays are on Friday and Saturdays!


All sorts of folklore, superstitions, and traditions have developed over the past 2000 years:

  • The frog is a symbol associated with February 29th. The Australian Rocket Frog can leap over 6.5 feet!
Frog-Symbol of Leap DayFrog-Symbol of Leap Day


  • Greeks considered it unlucky to propose or marry in a Leap Year and the Scots deemed it unlucky to be born on Leap Day.
  • Scottish farmers believed leap years were not good for farming and livestock, partly due to the old proverb: 'Leap Year was Ne'er a Good Year.'
  • In several European countries, Leap Day was called Bachelor's Day. Any man who refused a woman's proposal paid a penalty of 12 pairs of gloves, one for each month to hide her embarrassment of a bare engagement finger.
  • An old Irish legend says women can propose to their significant other on a leap day.
  • Sadie Hawkins Day, from Al Capp's long running 'L'il Abner' cartoon is hardly remembered today. A character in the series was the Mayor of the town of Dogpatch. He wanted to marry off his ugly daughter (Sadie Hawkins) so he created Sadie Hawkins Day.  A race would be held on this day. The single boys would be given a head start and then the single girls would chase the boys and if a girl caught her boy, he had to marry her.
Leap Day RomanceLeap Day Romance


Are you a Leapling or a Leaper?

If so, you share your birthday with Lord Byron, Dinah Shore and Tony Robbins, among others, and the odds are only one in 1,461.

If you were born 44 years ago, but with a real birthday coming every four years, you would just be 11 years old, not 44!

Those born on February 29th usually celebrate their birthdays each year on February 28th or March 1st.

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