Yes, it's finally February 29-- a date that we only get to see once every four years in our calendar. 2020 brought with it a leap day and while we all know the basic gist of what a leap year means, there are many fun facts about it that not many people know about.
But, before I tell you all the interesting things about the leap day, here's a quick recap of why today is so special. Julius Caesar (the Ruler of the Roman Empire), also called the modern-day Father of Leap Year realised that the earth actually has 365.24 days per year as opposed to 365. Therefore, he instituted a Leap Year in 45 BC-- an additional day that would occur once in four years to correct the math and to keep both the solar as well as man-made calendars perfectly synchronised.
Now that we know the history of its origin (well, briefly!), let's dive straight into the fun stuff!
I thought that the best fun fact to start with would be that all the people born on a leap year day are often called 'leaplings' or 'leapers'. Yes, there are 4 million leapers in the world. So, take that leap, guys!
1 dash lemon juice, 2/3 gin, 1/6 Grand Marnier, and 1/6 sweet vermouth-- that's the leap day cocktail. It was created in the year 1928 by a British bartender in London. Well, let's give this special one a try this weekend!
Scottish people believe that a leap year is bad for livestock. Therefore, people in Scotland can be heard saying, 'Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year.'
It all started with play-artists in Britain who thought that leap year was ridiculous. To the extent that they joked about how women must act like men in their plays in the month of February. Feminists in 1700s however, seemed inspired and started using Leap Day to propose to the men in their lives. The tradition continues till date in the UK.
If you are born on February 29, you've already received an honour for life. You have an exclusive membership to The Honour Society of Leap Year Day Babies-- the one with over 11,000 members.
I'd suggest if you are a fan of travel, then you must take a trip to France. And, if you do, then today is the day when you can pick up a copy of the rare La Bougie du Sapeur, a French parody newspaper published only on Leap Day.
The World Heritage Encyclopaedia suggests that there is a man who was born on February 29 and also died on the same day (in a different year, of course). He is the British-born James Milne Wilson, who was born on February 29, 1812, and died on February 29, 1880.
Not a fun fact, but a piece of information that we should be aware about. February 29 is also a Rare Disease Day, as marked in 2008 to generate awareness about over 6,000 rare diseases globally.
Let's end with the ones born on February 29. Ever wondered what would be their legal DOB for the other years that constitute of all dates minus the one they were born on? Well, it varies from country to country. While in some countries, a 29th February born has his or her legal birthday a day before, there are some countries that have ruled it a day after.
Woaah! That's some list. Who knew a date could come with such interesting facts!
Featured Image: Shutterstock
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