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Leap Year Fun Facts

February 23, 2016

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You probably know some basic facts about leap years (especially because this year is a leap year), but have you ever thought about how odd it really is to have an extra day in our year every now and then? Let's take a closer look at the leap year! 

What is a Leap Year? 

  • Our yearly calendar is 365 days long, but the Earth actually take a little longer than that to make it's way around the sun. This means that every year we accumulate about 5 hours and 48 minutes of extra time. 
  • If you add the hours up, it makes for around 24 every four years. That's why we add an extra day (February 29th) - to make up for the extra time. If we didn't add that extra day, our seasons would gradually shift and everyone would get confused. 
  • The leap year was introduced in 46 BC, by Roman leader Julius Caesar. In case your wondering, credit probably goes to his astronomer for figuring out a simple solution to the problem of extra time. 

We need an extra day every four years to make up for the extra time the Earth takes to orbit the sun. We need an extra day every four years to make up for the extra time the Earth takes to orbit the sun. Courtesy of ask.com

Leap Year Traditions

  • Tradition says that, on a leap day, a woman may propose to a man. If the man should refuse, he must give a gift to soften the blow, such as a kiss, a dress, or a piece of fabric. In Denmark, the tradition varies a little and demands that, should a man refuse, he give his suitor 12 pairs of gloves! 
  • Of course, this tradition is pretty old fashioned; nowadays, it's no big deal for a woman to propose to a man! 
  • In Greece, it's sometimes considered bad luck to be married on a leap year. 
  • In Taiwan, some think that the month of February during a leap year may bring bad luck to parents! This may prompt grown children to return home to watch over mom and dad. 

12 pairs is a lot of gloves!12 pairs is a lot of gloves!Courtesy of fathomaway.com

Leap Year Fun Facts

  • In some countries, a baby born on February 29th will have his or her legal birthday celebrated on either the day before or after. For example, in Hong Kong the legal birthday of a leap day baby is on March 1st. 
  • Babies that are born on February 29th are sometimes called leaplings or leapers.
  • Rapper Ja Rule was born on February 29th, 1972. 
  • Appropriately enough, February 29th is also known as Rare Diseases Day (I guess it makes sense considering that February 29th is fairly rare in itself). 
  • Frogs are associated with leap years, perhaps because of their remarkable leaping abilities! 
  • 2016 is a leap year, and the next leap year will be in 2020.

This tree frog has quite a leap!This tree frog has quite a leap!Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Hopefully you now know a little bit more about the leap year and all the fun it has to offer! Go ahead, share your new information with your friends and family. They're sure to be impressed by your knowledge! 

Have Your Say! 

Do you have any plans for the upcoming leap day? Our Kidzworld readers would love to hear from you! 

 

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