Leap Years Explained!

Date: 26 Feb 2016

Once every four years an extra day is added at the end of February.

This is because it takes the Earth exactly 365.2422 days to orbit the Sun, and as we follow the Gregorian calendar of 365 days in a year, having an additional day once every four years ensures we keep our clocks and calendars in sync with Earth and its seasons.

People who are born on 29th February during a leap year are known as ‘leaplings’ or ‘leapers.’ The chances of being born on 29th February are one in 1461!

So that ‘leapers' get to celebrate their birthday every year rather than once every four years, it is suggested that born just after midnight on February 29 should celebrate their birthdays on February 28, while those born just before midnight on March 1 should celebrate their birthdays on that day. Those born around midday are less fortunate when it comes to picking a side!

Leap years are also significant for wedding proposals. According to Irish legend, St Brigid made a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men, to help balance the traditional roles of men and women, in a similar way to how the leap year balances the calendar.

So ladies, will you be proposing to your other half on 29th February? Let us know via social media – good luck!