When is Leap Year? Find out the next Leap Day, how to calculate Leap Years, Leap Year folklore, and more!
A "Leap" Day is an extra day on February 29 which is added nearly every 4 years to today's Gregorian calendar.
How Do We Calculate Leap Years?
A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400.
So, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the year 2000 was.
Non-leap years begin and end on the same day of the week.
Leap Year Dates
|Year||Leap Year Day|
|2012||Wednesday, February 29|
|2016||Monday, February 29|
|2020||Saturday, February 29|
|2024||Thursday, February 29|
Why Do We Need Leap Years?
The actual length of a year (the rotation of Earth around the Sun) is 365.2422 days. If we didn't have leap years, the seasons would shift about a quarter of a day every year, and after 100 years the seasons would be off by 25 days. The extra leap day adjusts this drift.
Leap Year Folklore
According to folklore, in a leap year, the weather always changes on Friday.
"Leap year was ne'er a good sheep year" (old proverb)
A "leapling" is a person born in a leap year. Many feel that to be born on Leap Day, thereby becoming a "leapling," is a sign of good luck.
Did You Know: Ages ago, Leap Day was known as Ladies' Day, as it was the one day when women were free to propose ot men.
Are Leap Years Bad Luck?
In some cultures, it is considered bad luck to marry during a leap year. We don't know of any evidence supporting this bad luck impression, but we do know that during leap years Rome burned (64), George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), and the Titanic sank (1912). By the same token, also in leap years, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752), and gold was discovered in California (1848).
Do you have any Leap Year memories? Please share!