Happy Leap Day! Is it YOUR birthday today? How old are you?
2012 is a leap year. It has 366 days instead of the usual 365. Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BC. For those born on Leap Day, well…they are quite a bit younger than other folks born that same year! Not really,of course, but they do have a special place for people who have that claim to fame – The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. Free membership if you were born on February 29th!
Why a Leap Year?
It takes the earth about one year to travel around the sun. ‘About’ means it really takes 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds longer than that. That means our calendar year and solar year don’t match up perfectly. No big deal? Not for a year or two. But after four years, those extra hours have turned into an extra day. And after 100 years, those hours will have added 25 days to our calendar! January 19th would be Christmas, and kids would get out of school in July! So every four years a leap day is added to the calendar to allow it to catch up to the solar year. It keeps our seasons constant.
Fun Facts and Folklore
~ A person born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leaper”.
~ In the British Isles, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. In some places the tradition was tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, February 29.
~ It was once thought that leapling babies would inevitably prove sickly and “hard to raise,” though no one remembers why.
~ On the international scene, 56 countries will observe Rare Disease Day on February 29, 2012 calling for more research into ailments that have no known cure.
Here’s a fun trick question James Collins of Texas (born Leap Day 1968) responds with if asked on February 28th when his birthday is:
“It’s the day after today but it’s not tomorrow. And it’s the day before tomorrow but it’s not today.”
leapyearday.com is full of fun facts, folklore, ideas, and information both kids and adults will enjoy.
Wishing everyone a Happy Leap Day! And if it happens to be YOUR birthday, we want to know!