Leap Year

(Image via Clipart Library)

(Image via Clipart Library)

Gwendolyn Woods, Writer

Almost every four years we have an extra 24 hours in the year, in the form of February 29th, which is known as “Leap.” These extra 24 hours ensure that the sun stays in line. While the modern calendar says that we have 365 days in the year, it actually takes a while longer for the sun to go all the way around the sun. To ensure astrological consistency throughout the year, we need to periodically add a day, February 29th. There are many interesting things that come along with leap years, leap year traditions, people born on leap days, and why leap years, are called “leap year”. 

Only 0.07% of people are born on leap day or 4.8 million. Technically people born on leap day only get to celebrate their birthday every four years. But usually, their families still celebrate their birthday just on another day and overall the people born on Leap Day are more of a community than any other birthday twins because of the fact that it is so rare. 

Surprisingly, there are leap year traditions. But the most famous is women proposing to men. The legend goes back to the 5th century in Ireland, when a woman complained to St. Patrick about waiting so long for the men to propose, so he then made it legal for women to propose on February 29th. And when men denied the proposal they were often fined. Though this still means that a woman could be waiting for someone to propose, or herself to propose for four years, it has still become very popular.

Leap year also traditionally brings bad luck. In Greece, it is thought that marriages that are held on leap year often end in divorce. In Scotland, it is said that babies born on leap day will live a life of suffering and bad luck. And in Italy during Roman times, February was associated with the dead. Which means that February 29th prolonged the already sad month. Other communities may also believe that leap year is good luck, but in all honesty, it just depends on who you talk to.

A question you may be asking is, why is leap year called leap year? It is called leap year because each date on the calendar leaps ahead two days instead of just one. For example, Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year, but next year it will “leap” over Thursday and happen on Friday. But that is honestly the only good reason why it is called leap year, it just rolls nicely off the tongue.

Overall leap year has many different meanings for different cultures throughout history. Some communities may think that “Leap year” is good luck, and others think it is bad. Leap year also has a lot to do with history and historical calendars. It also has one main tradition, which is that women propose to men. Though leap year may not affect your life, it is very interesting to know about how leap year came to be, and interesting things that people do on leap year. And to the lucky people born on Leap Day, Happy Birthday!