Normally, there are only 28 days in February, but that changes if it’s a leap year. An extra day is added to the second month every four years to account for Earth’s full orbit around the sun. Continue reading below to find out more facts about leap years, courtesy of the BBC and the Telegraph.
1. It was tradition for women to propose to men on leap year. It reportedly started with Queen Margaret of Scotland. She created fines for men who did not accept proposals on Feb. 29. But women also had to follow rules by wearing breeches or a scarlet petticoat. However, this story might not be true since the queen was 5 at the time the law was created and lived far away in Norway.
Another story is that St. Bridget created the leap day proposal in the 5th century. She complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for men to propose, so he decided women could have the last day of the shortest month to proposition marriage.
2. While it’s uncommon to be born on leap day, it happens. There is a one in 1,461 chance. This is because there are 1,460 days in four years, plus one for leap day. Babies born Feb. 29 are called “leapings” or “leapers.” The poet Lord Byron, rapper Ja Rule and model and actor Antonio Sabato Jr. were born on leap day. There are reportedly 200,000 leaplings in the United States and more than 5 million worldwide.
3. What’s the point of leap year? An extra day is added to the calendar every four years because it takes 365.2422 days, give or take, for the Earth to make a complete orbit around the sun. And it doesn’t always happen every four years. A year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, will not be a leap year. So while 2000 was a leap year, 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not.
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