While you may know that leap years occur once every four years, you may not be aware of the purpose behind this additional day and even less about its origins. Whether you are curious or explaining to your host child, below is some great information that will turn you into a leap year expert.
To better understand the true origins of leap year we will need to turn back time, way, way back, a couple thousand years!
- The first traces of a 365 day calendar with a leap year was in the Egyptian Empire. The goal of the Egyptians was to create a calendar that mimicked the Solar Calendar allowing them to keep their seasons on track
- Fast forward about 3,000 years and Julius Caesar, Ruler of the Roman Empire became the modern day Father of Leap Year
- Caesar felt it was time to recognize that winter truly existed and created a 12 month 365 day calendar based off that of the Egyptians
- This new calendar was fabulous for a few years but it was slowly realized that the earth actually has 365.24 days per year as opposed to 365. To correct this, Caesar instituted a Leap Year once every four years to ensure the man-made and solar calendars stayed aligned
- Some cultures didn't have leap year on Feb 29th -- instead February 24th occurred twice
There are all kinds of leap day traditions and fun facts around this special day that comes every four years.
- 4 million people in the world are leap day babies
- Leap day babies are called leapers or leaplings
- There is a one in 1,461 chance of being a leap day baby
- Quite a few famous people were born on February 29th
- Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year
- But every year divisible by 100 is NOT a leap year
- Unless the year is also divisible by 400, then it is still a leap year.
- There will be 8 years between leap years 2096 and 2104
- Women often choose this day to propose marriage to men
- Getting married in a leap year is considered bad luck in Greece, so one in five engaged couples try to avoid it
Leap Day Activities
Now that you're up to date on Leap Day, have some fun. Here are some special craft ideas suitable for kids
- Create cut out lily pads and make a game out of jumping from one to another
- Let your kids color their lunch bags green and add some froggy eyes and a froggy smile
- Switch things up and let your kids handle making dinner (with supervision of course)
- Figure out how old your kids will be on the next leap year! Have them tell you what kinds of activities they hope to be doing when they are that age
- Make a special leap day card and tell someone in your family how much you love them!
Whatever you end up doing this leap year share it with us on Facebook!