1. Julius Caesar introduced the first calendar leap year in 46 B.C.
The Earth takes exactly 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to circle the sun. The occasional Feb. 29 ensures we don’t lose six hours every year.
2. Leap year babies are called “leapers” or “leaplings.”
You’d get a special name, too, if you had to wait four years to celebrate your birthday.
3. Feb. 29 has traditionally been a day on which women were allowed to propose to men.
Sounds hopelessly outdated for the 21st century, but this is the way it has worked in many cultures for centuries!
4. Some cultures consider Feb. 29 an unlucky day.
In Italy, people say, “Anno bisesto, anno funesto,” which translates as, “leap year, doom year.”
In some countries, like Greece, people warn against planning weddings during leap years.
5. Feb. 29 is not really a legal day.
Many companies don’t recognize Leap Day as a “valid day.” They make leapers choose
Feb. 28 or March 1 as their birthday instead.
6. Lots of people work for free on Feb. 29.
Most employees who are paid fixed monthly incomes will work for free on Feb. 29 because their wages are likely not calculated to include the extra day.
7. There are two “Leap Year Capitals of the World.”
If you want to celebrate this special day in a big way, head to Texas — or New Mexico. Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico both claim the title “Leap Year Capital,” while holding lavish, multi-day celebrations each leap year.
Your Turn: Do you know a leaper? Tell us when and how you celebrate in the comments.