Leap Days, Leaplings, and More: What Leap Years Are All About

What comes to mind when you think of a leap year? Not much, right? You might know that this year is a leap year. You might also know that every four years an extra day is tacked onto the end of February to make the month 29 days instead of 28.

However, there are some interesting facts about leap years that just might surprise you. 


1. Did you know that  it takes the Earth exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to circle around the sun? The whole reason we add an extra day every four years is to keep our calendar’s on track. If we didn’t add a day every for years, it would be off by 24 days after just one century.


Stars in the night sky Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash


2. Babies born on February 29th are often called “leaplings” or “leapers.”


girls play with blocks with babies Marisa Howenstine


3. Did you know the Chinese calendar an entire leap month is added every three years?!


4. Leap Year, the movie, was released in 2010. It’s a Rom-Com, starring Amy Adams and Mathew Goode. Anna Brady (Adams) travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend, but a storm sweeps her to Wales, where she runs into Innkeeper, Declan O-Callaghan (Goode), and ~drama~ ensues.  

Movies image Myke Simon

5. Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico, are twin cities that hold leap year festivals and celebrate leapling birthdays.


6. Leap years are special because it is considered socially “acceptable” for a woman to propose to a man on leap day. This tradition was started in Ireland by St. Patrick. St. Bridget was upset that women had to wait for men to propose and so St. Patrick allowed one day every four years for the woman to make the proposal. Read more about the legend here.

engagement ring in a box Jackie Tsang

7. Last, but certainly not least, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American person to win an Oscar on February 29th, 1940. Learn more about Hattie McDaniel and her role of “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind here


academy award oscar Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels