Leap Year

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest of thirty-one,
Excepting February alone,
Which has but twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each Leap Year.

Leap Year! It comes but once every four years, turning our normal three hundred and sixty-five day calendar into three hundred and sixty-six days.

For the majority of us it is just another day, whether we have to work or go to school. But for those born on February 29 it gets a little more interesting.

For “leaplings,” people born on leap year day, celebrating their birthday during a non-leap year is a matter of choice. They do not gain one year of age for every four years (as depicted in the comedic The Pirates of Penzance); instead, they can celebrate on February 28 or March 1. However, according to leapyearday.com, regardless of it being a leap year or common year, “leaplings” do no age up until after midnight on February 28.

When it comes to legal age, not all countries follow the same standards. Both England and Wales say they have to wait until March 1, while Taiwan and New Zealand say they have reached their majority on February 28.

As leap year comes once every four years, it doesn’t take much effort to know when one is:

• Monday, 2016
• Saturday, 2020
• Thursday, 2024
• Tuesday, 2028
• Sunday, 2032

But for those who like math, there are three criteria to take into account for the Gregorian calendar:

• The year is evenly divisible by 4;
• If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
• The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

Leapling or trivia fan, there are many interesting tidbits about leap year, including:

• It takes the earth three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, forty-eight minutes and forty-six seconds to travel around the sun (which is why we have a leap year).
• Leap year day was set aside as a day for women to propose to men (back in fifth century Ireland and later by Queen Margaret in 1288)
• There are quite a few famous leaplings, including Pope Paul III and rapper Ja Rule.
• The year 2000 was the first year all three criteria were met since we switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

So this leap year and every leap year, “Leap on.”


About Jenifer Chrisman

Jenifer joined the MWR Marketing team in 2011 as graphic designer. In 2014, she went back to her roots when she joined the Fort Gordon FYI Magazine team as a writer, along with her designer duties. As of 2015, she has created a series of briefs about the history, culture and traditions of the military called Culture.Mil, as well as writing various other pieces, including her favorite ... A Thin Line Of Many Colors.

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