I'm sure that most of us know why there is an extra day in February once every four years - to keep our calendar in sync with the seasons because the earth takes a little over 365 days to travel around the sun. Something I didn't know until today is that years ending 00 (eg 1900, 2000) are only counted as leap years if the answer is a whole number when you divide them by 400. So that's why 1900 wasn't a leap year but the year 2000 was.
Also fairly well known is the fact that 29th February is the day that in times gone by, it was acceptable for a woman to propose to a man. But if you are Greek, you would avoid getting married on this day as it is considered very unlucky. This superstition has reportedly led to some engaged couples avoiding getting married on any day in a leap year.
|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
A person born on 29th February might be known as a 'leapling' or a 'leap day baby'. The odds of being born on this day are 1 in 1,461. Famous leaplings include:
- Actor Antonio Sabato Jr - 1972
- Rapper Ja Rule - 1976
- Composer Gioachino Rossini - 1792 (coincidentally this year it's 220 years since he was born)
There are even three Norwegian siblings who hold a leap day Guinness World Record because they were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi Henriksen was born in 1960, her brother Olav in 1964, and the third sibling, Leif-Martin, was born in 1968.
Another unusual leap day family story comes from Ireland. Three generations of the Keogh family were born on 29th February: Peter Anthony in 1940, his son Peter Eric in 1964, and his daughter Bethany Wealth in 1996. I wonder what the odds are of that happening again?
Can anyone reveal any other unusual leap year or leap day facts?