Today is Leap Day!
Ever wondered why we have Leap Years?
A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400. So, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the year 2000 was. Non-leap years begin and end on the same day of the week.
See the origins of leap year below.
Leap Year Dates
Year Leap Year Day
2012 Wednesday, February 29
2016 Monday, February 29
2020 Saturday, February 29
2024 Thursday, February 29
More on Leap Year
According to folklore, in a leap year, the weather always changes on Friday.
*A person born in a leap year is called a leapling.
Why do we Have Leap Years?
The actual length of a year (the rotation of Earth around the Sun) is 365.2422 days. If we didn’t have leap years, the seasons would shift about a quarter of a day every year, and after 100 years the seasons would be off by 25 days. The extra leap day adjusts this drift.
Are Leap Years Bad Luck?
In some cultures, it is considered bad luck to marry during a leap year.
We don’t know of any evidence supporting this bad luck impression, but we do know that during leap years Rome burned (64), George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), and the Titanic sank (1912). By the same token, also in leap years, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752), and gold was discovered in California (1848).