Fun facts about leap year and leap year day.
Wedding Belles There is a tradition -- said to go back to Saint Patrick and Brigid of Kildare in 5th-century Ireland -- whereby women may make marriage proposals only in leap years. Supposedly, in a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland, fines were levied if the proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown. Because men felt that put them at too great a risk, the tradition was in some places tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, Feb. 29, or to the medieval leap day, Feb. 24. What Exactly is Leap Year? In the Gregorian calendar, most years that are divisible by four are leap years. In a leap year, February has 29 days instead of 28. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a solar year is almost six hours longer than 365 days. However, some exceptions to this rule are required since the duration of a solar year is slightly less than 365.25 days. Years that are divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years. For example, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900 and 3000 will not be leap years, but 2400 and 2800 will be. The Odds A leap day is more likely to fall on a Monday than on a Sunday. This is because the Gregorian calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks including 97 leap days. Over this period, Feb. 29 falls 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday; 14 times on a Friday or Saturday; and 15 times on a Monday or Wednesday. Leaplings A person born on Feb. 29 may be called a leapling. In common years, they celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1. Some Famous Leaplings Pope Paul III Ann Lee, American founder of Shakers Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer John Philip Holland, Irish inventor Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India William A. Wellman, American film director Jimmy Dorsey, American bandleader Pepper Martin, baseball player Rukmini Devi Arundale, Indian dancer and founder of Kalakshetra Dee Brown, American writer Dinah Shore, American singer Arthur Franz, American actor James Mitchell, American actor Al Rosen, American baseball player Carlos Humberto Romero, president of El Salvador Jack Lousma, astronaut Alex Rocco, American actor Phyllis Frelich, American actress Dennis Farina, American actor Jiro Akagawa, Japanese novelist Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush, American television personality Tim Powers, American writer Raisa Smetanina, Russian cross-country skier Bart Stupak, American politician Aileen Wuornos, American serial killer Richard Ramirez, American serial killer Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player and Boston radio personality Chucky Brown, American basketball player Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist Bryce Paup, American football player Wendi Peters, British actress Antonio Sabàto, Jr., Italian-born actor Dave Williams, American singer (Drowning Pool) Saul Williams, American rapper, poet, and actor Ja Rule, American rapper and actor Emma Barton, British Actress Taylor Twellman, American soccer player Chris Conley, American musician Some Famous Leap Day Events 1504 - Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies. 1720 - Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favor of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I. 1864 - American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails: Plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Va., are thwarted. 1892 - St. Petersburg, Fla., incorporated. 1916 - Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from 12 to 14 years old. 1932 – Time magazine features eccentric American politician William "Alfalfa" Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for president. 1940 - For her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind,” Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African-American to win an Academy Award. 1940 - In a ceremony held in Berkeley, Calif., because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden's Consul General in San Francisco. 1944 - World War II: The Admiralty Islands are invaded in the General Douglas MacArthur-led Operation Brewer. 1956 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces to the nation that he is running for a second term. 1960 - An earthquake in Morocco kills more than 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country. 1972 - Vietnam War: Vietnamization: South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam. 1972 - Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract. 1984 - Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader. 1988 - South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town. 1996 - Novelist Joan Collins awarded $1 million from Random House for breach of contract. 1996 - A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people. 2000 – Six-year-old Dedrick Owens shoots and kills Kayla Rolland, also 6, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Mich. 2004 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as president of Haiti after popular rebel uprising. Source: Wikipedia.org