Happy Leap Year: Fun Facts You Get Once Every Four Years

With 366 days instead of the usual 365, what are you going to do with the extra 24 hours in 2012?

No, it's not quite March 1.

Every four years, we add an extra day to the calendar to keep in sync with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes 365.242199 days for the Earth to complete a full rotation around the sun.

Our calendar, however, marks out a mere 365 days a year. If we did not add a day every four years, we would lose six hours from our calendar every year. That would add up to the loss of 24 days in the course of 100 years.

Want to blow the minds of your coworkers with some other fun facts? Here you go. 

Fun Facts for Leap Year

  • Feb. 29 is traditionally a day when women are “permitted” to romantically pursue men. The tradition dates back to 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget lamented to St. Patrick about the "fair sex having to wait for men to propose." As a result, Patrick relented and declared that Feb. 29 is the day that would be set aside when women can ask men for their hand in marriage.
  • On Feb. 29 in the year 1860, Herman Hollerith invented the first electric tabulating machine, the forerunner to the calculator.
  • Hattie McDaniel was the first black person to win an Oscar. McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. The awards ceremony took place on Feb. 29, 1940.
  • The chances of being born on Leap Day are one in 1,461.

Famous Feb. 29 Births

  • 1792: Italian opera composer Gioacchino Rossini
  • 1916: Singer Dinah Shore
  • 1920: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Howard Nemerov
  • 1924: Cleveland Indians third-baseman Al Rosen
  • 1976: Rapper Ja Rule

For more fun trivia on Leap Years, click here.

Do you have a fun Leap Year fact, local event or know someone born in a Leap Year? Tell us in the comments below.


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