According to Webster: leap year, A year in the Gregorian calendar having 366 days, with the extra February 29, intercalated to compensate for the quarter-day difference between an ordinary year and the astronomical year.
Leap Day, Notable Events and Birthdays..
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the only verified example of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 is that of the Keogh family.
Peter Anthony Keogh was born in Ireland on February 29, 1940, while his son Peter Eric was born on the Leap Day in the United Kingdom in 1964. His daughter, Bethany Wealth Keogh, was, (in turn,) born in the U.K. on February 29, 1996.
On a separate note…
A Norwegian family by the name Henriksen from Andenes holds the official record of number of children born on February 29. Mrs. Karin Henriksen gave birth to 3 children on consecutive February 29; her daughter “Heidi in 1960,” her son “Olav in 1964” and her son “Leif-Martin in 1968.” (Source timeanddate.com)
Ordinarily when asked how many days are in a year, the traditional answer is 365 days, but in actuality the Earth actually takes more than 365 days to complete a rotation; it takes about 365.2422 days. This translates to every year actually being a year and one quarter days. To account for this problem, every four years an additional day is added to the calendar. In the traditional Gregorian calendar adopted by a the United States and many other areas of the world, this day comes in the form of February 29. Years containing this extra calendar day are known as leap years. Since they only happen once every four years, people have long associate leap years with special traditions and customs. Accordingly, below are five somewhat interesting things about Leap Years.
1. Women Can Propose to a Man on February 29th
Since the 19th century, tradition has stated that women have the right to propose to a man on February 29th. In times where gender roles were more concrete than today, this was considered a very unique and bold thing to do. The practice dates all the way back to 1288 where the tradition was first observed in Scotland. In recent years, the tradition has become more playful with the concept of the Sadie Hawkings Dance, where young girls ask boys to accompany them to the event.
2. Other Calendars Add a Month for Leap Year
The Chinese calendar, Hebrew calendar, and Hindu calendar all add an additional month or embolismic month to their calendar in accordance with the leap year. The Hebrew Calendar adds their leap year month, Adar Alef, seven times every 19 years. The Hindu calendar adds their extra month, Adhika, every two to three years to compensate for the 10-11 days that their calendar is off line with the actual solar year. The Chinese leap year month does not have a name and instead can be taken at different times in accordance with the winter solstice.
3. Many Major Events are aligned with Leap Years
The UEFA European Football Championship, Summer Olympic Games, United States Presidential Election and Winter Olympic Games (up until 1992) were all held on leap years. While there is no definitive reason why these events happen to only take place during leap years and it may be solely due to coincidence, they all help to make leap years particularly special.
4. Leap Day goes back to the Roman Empire
Julius Caesar declared that the last day of February to be Leap Year Day. He also declared that the day would be skipped three out of every four years. This was about the same time that Julius Caesar added the month of July to the original Roman calendar in his own honor.
5. Leap Years have to be Divisible by 400 at the end of the Century
The year 1900 was not a leap year, but the year 2000 was. This difference comes from the need to account for the slight rounding error that occurs by counting each year as 365.25 days when it is actually 36.24. By skipping leap years on turns of the century that are not divisible by 400, the Gregorian calendar is able to compensate for the 11 minute loss of accuracy each year.
Famous and/or Celebrity “Leap Day” Birthdays.
Some famous people born on February 29 include:
1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
1792 – Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (William Tell, The Barber of Seville) (d. 1868)
1896 – Morarji Desai, former Indian prime minister (d. 1995)
1916 –DinahShore, American singer (d. 1994)
1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, former president ofEl Salvador
1960 – Anthony (Tony) Robbins, American motivational speaker
1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player
1972 – Antonio Sabàto Jr, Italian-born actor
1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
1980 – Chris Conley, American musician and songwriter/composer
In the Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, most years that are evenly divisible by 4 are leap years. In each leap year, the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a period of 365 days is shorter than a solar year by almost 6 hours.
Some exceptions to this rule are required since the duration of a solar year is slightly less than 365.25 days. 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. For example, 1600 and 2000 were leap years, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not. Similarly, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900 and 3000 will not be leap years, but 2400 and 2800 will be. Therefore, in a duration of two millennia, there will be 485 leap years. By this rule, the average number of days per year will be 365 + 1/4 − 1/100 + 1/400 = 365.2425, which is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds. The Gregorian calendar was designed to keep the vernal equinox on or close to March 21, so that the date of Easter (celebrated on the Sunday after the 14th day of the Moon, i.e., a full moon that falls on or after March 21) remains correct with respect to the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox year is about 365.242374 days long (and increasing).
The marginal difference of 0.000125 days between the Gregorian calendar average year and the actual year means that, in 8,000 years, the calendar will be about one day behind where it is now. But in 8,000 years, the length of the vernal equinox year will have changed by an amount that cannot be accurately predicted. Therefore, the current Gregorian calendar suffices for practical purposes, and the correction suggested by John Herschel of making 4000 a non-leap year will probably not be necessary. (Source, Wikipedia)
U.S. Presidential Elections and Leap Years…
In general U.S. Presidential elections fall on leap years, ..but not always.
In simplest terms, a Leap Year is a “calendar correction”. According to the Gregorian Calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, leap day falls on February 29th which occurs for those years evenly divisible by four.
So, for instance, the year 1776, when the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress of the original Thirteen Colonies, was a Leap Year. Another Leap Year, certainly less well known than 1776, but quite important for our purposes, occurred just 12 years later in 1788.
For example, 1600 and 2000 were leap years, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, ..so the 1800 and 1900 elections were not.
..and of course since were on the topic of U.S. Presidential elections, ..don’t forget to write Newt Gingrich’s name on the palm of your hand so that when you vote on November 6, you will know who to vote for.
Think about it, coming back tomorrow