Leap day is called an intercalary day, which means it is inserted in the calendar between two already existing days. Every four years this day, February 29, is added to keep the calender working properly. One orbit of the Earth around the Sun is called a solar year. We think of a solar year as 365 days, but it actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
Although the ancient Egyptians were the first to add a leap day once every four years, Julius Caesar, in 45 BC, was the one to declare February 29 as the leap day.
If you are pregnant and expect to deliver on February 29, you could possibly be entered into the official record books. To accomplish this task, you would have to break a record held by the Henriksen family from Norway. Mrs. Karin Henriksen gave birth to three children on three different Leap Days. One in 1960, another in 1964 and the last in 1968.
The Keogh family from Ireland is the only family on official record of having three consecutive generations of family members born on February 29. The father, Peter, was born in 1940 in Ireland. His son, Peter, was born in the UK in 1964 and his granddaughter was also born in the UK but in 1996.
If February 29 is your birthday, you can join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. About 10,000 Leap Day babies from around the world have joined this unique society since it began in 1997. The society’s goal is to have the largest collection of Leap Day information available on the internet.
There are many traditions that accompany Leap Day. According to an old Irish legend, this is one day that women can propose marriage to men. In the middle ages, a man would have to pay a penalty for refusing a marriage proposal on Leap Day. In Scotland, it is seen as unlucky to be born on February 29. And in Greece, no one would be attending a wedding on February 29 because it is considered an unlucky date to be married.
So, whatever you plan to do with your “extra” day this year, enjoy!!
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