# diamond geezer

### Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap day - 29 leap facts for February 29th

1) Today is the 512th leap day to be observed since the first in 45BC.
2) Leap years occur every four years. They're required because a solar year is almost exactly 365¼ days long, and over a four year period those four quarter-days add up to make one whole extra day.
3) There are only 24 leap years this century because 2100 won't be a leap year.
4) Leap year babies celebrate their birthday only once every 1461 days. Raenell is quite passionate about it. Great site.
5) 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.
6) Over a 400 year period, the odds of being born on February 29th lengthen to 1 in 1506.
7) About 40000 people in the UK are leap day babies. Meet some of them here.
8) About 200000 people in the USA and 4 million people worldwide are leap day babies. Meet some of them here.
9) The Queen sent no centenarian birthday telegrams on February 29th 2000, because there was no February 29th 1900.
10) The composer Rossini was born on February 29th 1792, Pope Paul III on February 29th 1468, actor Joss Ackland on February 29th 1928 and rapper Ja Rule on February 29th 1976. 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 first February since 1980 to have five Fridays (and the next will be 2036).
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. In legal situations, UK law dictates February 28th.
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) Is your watch showing the wrong date today? It probably is.
17) When Julius Caesar introduced leap years the extra day wasn't February 29th, it was February 24th. The Romans repeated the sixth day before March 1st, or "dies bissextus", and leap years are still sometimes called bissextile years.
18) Living through a leap day means one day longer to wait for your birthday and one day longer to wait for Christmas.
19) The National Trust is giving all its workers the day off today so that they can each do something good for the environment. Join the Great Green Leap Day here.
20) Leap Day number 1s of the past five decades would make a fascinating compilation CD: Anthony Newley (Why, 1960), 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), Peter Andre (Mysterious Girl, 2004) and Duffy (Mercy, 2008).
21) Leap day is also St Oswald's Day, named after a 10th century archbishop of York who died during a feet-washing ceremony on February 29th 992. His feast is celebrated on February 28th during non leap years.
22) The Academy Awards have twice been awarded on February 29th - in 1940 (best picture: Gone With The Wind) and 2004 (best picture: Lord of the Rings III).
23) Are you tempted by a Leap Day birthday poem, some Leap Day clothing or perhaps a Leap Day tattoo?
24) Webpages about the date February 29th here, here and here.
25) 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.
26) Leap year babies endured seven consecutive years with no birthdays from 1897 to 1903, and will again from 2097 to 2103.
27) Every leap year the town of Antony on the Texas/New Mexico border holds a Leap Year Festival. This weekend they're celebrating with hot air balloons, a parade, parachutes and special birthday cake for all.
28) There has, just once, been a February 30th. It happened in Sweden, and it happened in 1712. The Swedes needed to lose 11 days to come in line with the Gregorian calendar, but forgot to miss out February 29th in 1704 and 1708 so had to add an extra leap day in 1712 to get back in sync. Pity the Swedish babies born on on February 30th 1712, because they never saw another birthday.
29) Brothers and sister Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin Henriksen of Stavanger, Norway were all born on February 29th - in 1960, 1964 and 1968 respectively.

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