Everyone knows about leap years, but it's easy to forget why we have them. Every four years, we add an extra day to the month of February to keep our calendar 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, or 24 days in the course of 100 years! We don’t know about you, but we can use all the extra time we can get.
So, Elk Grove, what will you do with all those "extra" minutes? Take a few of 'em to peruse these fun facts about leap year.
Leap Year Trivia:
- Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years around 45 BCE.
- February 29 is traditionally a day where 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 February 29 is the day that would be set aside when women can ask men for their hand in marriage. (Amy Adams takes advantage of this tradition in the 2010 romantic comedy film Leap Year, pictured at right.)
- On February 29, 1860, Herman Hollerith invented the first electric tabulating machine, the forerunner to the calculator.
- On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Oscar. McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
- The chances of being born on a Leap Year are 1 in 1,461.
Famous Leap Year Births:
- 1792: Italian opera composer Gioacchino Rossini
- 1916: Singer Dinah Shore
- 1920: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Howard Nemerov
- 1924: Cleveland Indians 3rd Baseman Al Rosen
- 1976: Rapper Ja Rule
For more Leap Year trivia, click here.
Were you born on a Leap Day? How do you celebrate? Tell us in the comments.