February 29, also known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of the year.
The Chinese calendar, Hebrew calendar, and Hindu calendar all add an additional month or embolismic month to their calendar in accordance with the leap year. The Hebrew Calendar adds their leap year month, Adar Alef, seven times every 19 years. The Hindu calendar adds their extra month, Adhika, every two to three years to compensate for the 10-11 days that their calendar is off line with the actual solar year. The Chinese leap year month does not have a name and instead can be taken at different times in accordance with the winter solstice.
The year 1900 was not a leap year, but the year 2000 was. This difference comes from the need to account for the slight rounding error that occurs by counting each year as 365.25 days when it is actually 36.24. By skipping leap years on turns of the century that are not divisible by 400, the Gregorian calendar is able to compensate for the 11 minute loss of accuracy each year.
How do we calculate Leap Years?
In the Gregorian calendar 3 criteria must be met to be a leap year:
1) The year is evenly divisible by 4;
2) If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
3) The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.
Leap Day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on February 29 during Leap Years and on February 28 during common years.
Greek culture says it's bad luck to marry in a leap year. But cheapo culture says it's awesome to only have an anniversary every four years. In Scotland, it's considered bad luck to be born on Leap Day. But here in the U.S., it's just considered a novelty to be 1/4 your real age. Children born on Leap Day are difficult and hard to manage, according to Scottish legend.
WE GET LEAP YEARS BECAUSE it takes the Earth early 365 1/4 days to orbit around the Sun -- minus 11 minutes every year. Because of that 11 minutes, we skip scheduled leap days three times in 400 years.
The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, is a free membership birthday club for people born on February 29th. Almost 10,000 people from all over the world have joined since the website was launched in 1997. Members are listed on the members page, where you can search by age and location for people born on February 29th.
An old European tradition called leap day "Bachelor's Day," when a man had to pay a penalty if he refused a woman's Leap Day marriage proposal. The payment was 12 pairs of gloves, so the lady could hide her embarrassment at not having an engagement ring on her finger.
According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BCE (Before Common Era), Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore.
Ja Rule, the famous American singer/actor was born on a leap day in 1976. Today, he's turning 36, but it's actually only his 9th birthday.