Life Care Centers of America
Sofia Espinoza

An added day in February every four years gives us 24 more hours than we’re used to. How are you going to spend your extra day? Here are five things about Leap Day to help you learn about our calendar system and what you can do with an extra day.

How do Leap Years work?

Julius Caesar, leader of the Roman Empire, was the first to see a flaw in the calendar system that used 355 days. He attempted to fix the problem by adding days to different months of the year. This created a 365-day calendar. However, adding days to certain months still didn’t fix the problem. It takes the earth a little over 365 days to rotate around the sun. The specific time required is: 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. By the 16th century, the Julian calendar was almost 10 days off track. Pope Gregory XIII made reforms in 1582 and produced the calendar that we still use today. The Gregorian system rules that Leap Days only fall during a year that can be divided by the number four. If it is a century year, then it must be divisible by four-hundred.

What is a leaping?

A “leapling” is a child born on Feb. 29. Every four years, these individuals get a true birthday. On any other year, they either celebrate the day before or the day after. They could even decide to mix it up each birthday. A quick fact about a leapling is that Sir James Wilson is the only person known to have been born and died on two separate Leap Days.

Historical Events During Leap Years

  • 1752 – Benjamin Franklin proved that electricity is lightning.
  • 1776 – America was born by the Deceleration of Independence being issued on July 4.
  • 1848 – Gold was discovered in California.
  • 1876 – George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of Little Bighorn.
  • 1912 – The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean.


  • English tradition allows women to propose to men on Leap Day.
  • Greek superstition says that marrying in a leap year can bring bad luck. As many as one in every five Greek couples avoid planning their wedding in a leap year.
  • In the past, some British areas ignored Feb. 29 as a day. This meant that the day held no legal status, and any crime committed on the day was no crime at all.
  • In Scotland it is thought to be unlucky to be born on a Leap Day.

Things to do on Leap Day

  • Watch the movie Leap Year, starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It’s a romantic comedy about the tradition where women are allowed to propose marriage to men.
  • Read a book about Feb. 29. Leap Day, by Wendy Mass, is about Josie, a 16-year-old girl, celebrating her “4th”
  • Write a letter to yourself or someone special to you. Open it four years later, on the next Leap Day.
  • Create a leap day time capsule.
  • Host a party to celebrate an extra day on the calendar. It just so happens to fall on a Saturday this year! It would be a great reason to invite friends and family over.
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