diamond geezer

 Sunday, February 29, 2004

Leap day - 29 leap facts for February 29th

1) Today is the first leap day of the 21st century.
2) There are only 24 leap years this century because 2100 won't be a leap year.
3) Leap year babies celebrate their birthday only once every 1461 days. Raenell is quite passionate about it. Great site.
4) You have a 1 in 1461 chance of being born on February 29th. The odds are a lot higher if your parents have sex on May 29th the previous year.
5) Over a 400 year period, the odds of being born on February 29th lengthen to 1 in 1506.
6) About 40000 people in the UK are leap day babies. Meet some of them here.
7) About 200000 people in the USA and 4 million people worldwide are leap day babies. Meet some of them here.
8) The Queen sent no centenarian birthday telegrams on February 29th 2000, because there was no February 29th 1900.
9) The Queen will be sending a birthday card to her cousin's son James Oglivy who turns 40 today, on his 10th birthday.
10) The composer Rossini was born on February 29th 1792, Pope Paul III on February 29th 1468, and actor Joss Ackland on February 29th 1928. More leap day birthdays here.
11) In a leap year you probably get paid the same for doing one day's extra work. Schoolchildren, on the other hand, get one day's extra holiday.
12) The Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance revolves around a February 29th birthday. Frederic is a pirate's apprentice, free to return to respectable society on his 21st birthday, except that at the age of 21 he realises he still has 63 years to go. A leap child's lot is not a happy one.
13) Today is the last leap day to fall at the weekend until 2020.
14) If you have a leap year birthday, like one of my work colleagues, you have to decide when to celebrate it in non-leap years - February 28th or March 1st. Or both.
15) Ladies, today's the day to propose marriage to your man. Hurry up, if you wait another 4 years just think how old he'll be. Why not send a postcard?
16) Exactly 500 years ago today, Christopher Columbus pulled off his great eclipse trick. A leaky ship forced him to beach on Jamaica, and he and his crew rapidly ran out of supplies. Fortunately Columbus knew his astronomy and realised that a total lunar eclipse was due on February 29th 1504. He gathered the local natives together at sunset and told them God was displeased and would eat up the Moon. The eclipse started, the natives were sore afraid, and Columbus eventually agreed to 'return the Moon' in return for food. Genius.
17) Is your watch showing the wrong date today? It is, isn't it?
18) Living through a leap day means one day longer to wait for your birthday and one day longer to wait for Christmas.
19) Leap years are quadrennial, like the Olympics or the World Cup.
20) Leap Day number 1s of the past 40 years would make an fascinating compilation CD: Cilla Black (Anyone Who Had A Heart, 1964), Esther & Abi Ofarim (Cinderella Rockefella, 1968), Chicory Tip (Son Of My Father, 1972), Four Seasons (December '63 (Oh What A Night), 1976), Blondie (Atomic, 1980), Nena (99 Red Balloons, 1984), Kylie Minogue (I Should Be So Lucky, 1988), Shakespear's Sister (Stay, 1992), Oasis (Don't Look Back In Anger, 1996), All Saints (Pure Shores, 2000) and Peter Andre (Mysterious Girl, 2004).
21) Today's only the tenth February 29th I've ever experienced. And, all things being average, I have less than ten more to go.
22) Bloggers - take a look at the a day in the life project, or click back there tomorrow to view the photographic results.
23) Webpages about the date February 29th here, here and here.
24) IT-type people feared computers might go wrong on Leap Day 2000, misinterpreting the date as February 29th 1900, a date which didn't exist. They were wrong.
25) Leap year babies endured seven consecutive years with no birthdays from 1897 to 1903, and will again from 2097 to 2103.
26) Every leap year the town of Antony on the Texas/New Mexico border holds a Leap Year Festival. Today they're celebrating with hot air balloons, a parade, parachutes and special birthday cake for all.
27) Tasteful leap year merchandise, oh yes.
28) Brothers and sister Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin Henriksen of Stavanger, Norway were all born on February 29th - in 1960, 1964 and 1968 respectively.
29) And that was leap month on diamond geezer. Full explanation of how leap years work scattered further down the page.

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