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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Leap year

It takes the Earth 365.25 days to make this trip around the sun. In other words, for every year we gain one-fourth of a day and every four years we gain an extra day hence the Leap year.


Cleopatra introduced Julius Caesar to her astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, who suggested to the Roman dictator the idea of leap days and leap years.

Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year around 46 B.C., but his Julian calendar had only one rule: Any year evenly divisible by four would be a leap year.

There was no February 29th in Caesar’s leap years but February 24th was repeated.

Before Julius Caesar proposed the Leap Year, people observed a 355-day calendar with an extra 22-day month every two years.

Caesar's Julian Calendar didn't exactly coordinate the measured year with the earth's orbit around the sun, so when Pope Gregory XIII revised the calendar in 1582, he left century years out of the leap day rule unless the number before the 00 is divisible by 4. This means the year 2100 will not be a leap year.

It is acceptable for a woman to propose to a man on February 29th. The custom has been attributed to St. Bridget, who is said to have complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for men to propose marriage. Patrick supposedly gave women one day to propose.


In 1288 Queen Margaret of Scotland made a ruling that on Leap Year Day a woman could propose marriage to the man of her choice. She also stated that any man who refused a proposal on leap year must pay a fine or buy the woman 12 pairs of gloves.

Alessandro Farnese was born on February 29, 1468 in Lazio, Italy. Later, he became Pope Paul III — he was the only Pope ever to be born on a leap year day,

If America had done away with leap days on July 4, 1776,  the US calendar today would be a full two months ahead of the Earth's position.

A person born on February 29th may be called a "leapling" or a "leaper." Some famous leapers are English poet John Byrom, Italian pianist and composer Gioachino Rossini, band leader Jimmy Dorsey and the rapper Ja Rule.

The eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, was born on a leap day and died on a leap day in the 1800s.

Karin Henriksen of Norway gave birth to children on February 29 in 1960, 1964 and 1968, and Louise Estes of Provo, Utah, who gave birth on February 29 in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

There are an estimated 5 million leapsters alive today.

Because there seemed to be an overabundance of people born in Anthony in Texas on February 29, the town declared itself the Leap Year Capital of the World in 1988. It holds a huge party every February 29th.

The only time a month begins and ends on the same day of the week is February in a leap year.

Sources USA Today, Daily Express

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