Today is the 29th February…our bonus day and one we only get every four years!
So why do we have this phenomenon of an extra 24 hours?
A quick Google reveals that it is all to do with how long it takes the earth to orbit the sun.
It takes 365 1/4 days to complete a full orbit so an extra day is added every four years to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical/seasonal year.
Having a day that only exists every four years is a little tricky for some as anyone born on this day will not celebrate another actual birthday until 2020!
However, chance of actually being born on 29th February is very slim… the odds are one in 1,461 to be exact.
In terms of when to celebrate a “leaper’s” birthday…a terrible sounding description… some countries such as Hong Kong legally specify the 1st March, others like New Zealand specify 28th February.
Strangely couldn’t find anything on what happens in Australia…let me know if you know!
There are a few traditions that are attached to leap years, with probably the most well known one being that women can propose marriage.
This apparently all started back in 5th Century Ireland when St Brigid of Kildare complained that the women had to wait too long for men to propose. St Patrick then decreed that women could propose on the 29th February.
On the opposite side, some cultures view it as very unlucky to marry in a leap year!
Other weird and wonderful facts about leap year include that astrologers believed that children born on February 29th would have unusual talents.
And in Russia, it is assumed that during a year such as this one, there will be more freak disturbances and a higher risk of death!
You would think in this day an age, with the knowledge and technology we have, there would be another way to even things up but due to the way our solor system works, this is what we are stuck with.
And apparently, even adding another day is not a total fix…it will only last for about 3300 years, and then guess what…we will be a day out again!
However, the good news is you and I won’t be around to worry about this calendar technicality!
So happy birthday to all the leaplings and make sure you have a big celebration…you have four years to make up for!
Were you born on the 29th February? Which day do you celebrate your birthday on non-leap years?