When is the Next Leap Year?

Leap Year Dates, History, and Folklore

By The Old Farmer's Almanac
29 Leap Year Fence

When is the next Leap Year? Find out when the next Leap Day will be and how to calculate Leap Years, then learn about the history and folklore behind Leap Years.

What is a Leap Day?

A “Leap Day” is the extra day—February 29—which is added nearly every 4 years to today’s Gregorian calendar. The short explanation for this is that adding an extra day keeps our calendar aligned with the seasons. (Keep reading for the longer explanation!)

A “leapling” is a person born on a leap day. Any Leap Day babies out there? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

How Do You Know if it’s a Leap Year?

Here are the rules for leap years, just to set the record straight:

  • 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.)
  • Leap years have 366 days, rather than the usual 365.
  • Non–leap years begin and end on the same day of the week. 

When is The Next Leap Year?

Year Leap Year Day
2020 Saturday, February 29
2024 Thursday, February 29
2028 Tuesday, February 29

Why Do We Need Leap Years?

One orbit of Earth around the Sun takes 365.2422 days—a little more than our Gregorian calendar’s nice, round number of 365. Because of this difference, our calendar gradually gets out of sync with the seasons. Adding an extra day, aka a “leap day,” to the calendar every 4 years brings the calendar in line and therefore realigns it with the seasons.

Without leap days, the calendar would be off by 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds more each year. After 100 years, the seasons would be off by 25 days! The extra leap day adjusts this drift.

But it’s not a perfect match: Adding a leap day every 4 years overcompensates by a few extra seconds each leap year, adding up to about 3 extra days every 10,000 years. 

Leap Year Facts and Folklore

Always remember this:

  • According to folklore, in a leap year, the weather always changes on Friday.
  • Ages ago, Leap Day was known as Ladies’ Day, as it was the one day when women were free to propose to men.
  • “Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year” (old proverb)

Are Leap Years Bad Luck?

Many feel that to be born on Leap Day, thereby becoming a “leapling,” is a sign of good luck.

In some cultures, it is considered bad luck to get married during a leap year.

We don’t know of any evidence supporting that marriage theory, but we do know that during leap years:

  • Rome burned (64),
  • 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? Are you a Leapling yourself? Please share in the comments below!


The Old Farmer's Almanac


Reader Comments

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To all those leaplings can I ask is do you only celebrate your birthday every 4 years or do you celebrate on Feb 28 or March 1 ?

Leap Year

I was born 2-29-1948. I am 17 in birthdays. I have always liked being born on leap day. My kids always loved it when they became older than me in birthdays. My youngest, when she became older than me, she went to school telling her teacher that she was now older than her mother. They asked her how could that be. So she explained

Leap Year

Leapling born 02-29-1964
It's easier now I'm older and don't care so much about birthdays! It's kind of fun having to only celebrate once every four years.

Leap year

I had identical twin girls on leap year 2/29/1988 it was 52 year between my twins and my twin Great aunts my twins are name after them

Leap year


Leap Day puppy

I have a miniature pincher pup. He was born leap day 2012. He is without a doubt the most mischievous dog I have ever had. It's like every thing he does, he is out to prove he is special. His mother and father are both red minis, he is a perfectly marked black. He jumps higher than seems possible, as long as his target is something to eat that he shouldn't have. No matter, I love him to pieces.

My birthday

Last year was my birthday (02/29/2016) and I was turning 12 years old, people in my class kept asking me how my birthday works. I explained it in the most simple way I can, by saying that an extra day is added in February, every 4 years passing, and for some reason, they are still confused by when I say that. And whenever something involving our ages is involved, they always have the nerve to make fun of my birthday by saying that I'm 3. Sometimes having a birthday on a leap year is a blessing and a curse. But at least I have the rarest birthday in the world. :)

Leap year

I was born in July, 2004. So am I really 3 years old?


2/29/84 on the off yrs when does everyone celebrate?

Leap year babies rule

I am a leap year baby born on 2,000 I am suppose to be sixteen but Since i am a leap year baby I am 4 years old

Leap Year Baby

Hi leapling, Happy sweet 16! And how fun to think you’re four-years-old.  Maybe have a party and include some four-year-old fun like blowing bubbles! :-)

No, honey

You're a leapling, not a Leap Year Baby.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, that was a giant leap year.

...but not a real leap year.

...but not a real leap year.

My son was born 2/29/88 what

My son was born 2/29/88 what a beautiful day that was he's 7 in leap years but today he turn 28yrs old

leap dày

My first grand daughter was born on leap day 2012! She such a blessing and so smart.

A Great Marriage!

We were married on February 29, 2004. The minister who married us asked my husband how often we would celebrate our anniversary since it was on Leap Day...every four years? No, my husband responded. We will celebrate EVERYDAY... and we have. Looking forward to year 12 next Monday (or is that three ???)


Marriage on Feb 29 2016 3:30 in Santa Ana, California Court House
MAILE Pisces Monkey "(Laos)"
GEORGE Pisces Serpent "(Mex/Amer)"

I proposed to my husband and

I proposed to my husband and we were married on Feb 29,08 at 7:49pm. (We only celebrate our anniversary on the actual day.) Our 1st anniversary we our daughter decided she wanted to grace us on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:07am 2months premature. Our little leapling will celebrate her "1st" 4th birthday this year!!

leap year babies

I was born on the 29 and so was my younger brother

Leap Year

I was born Feb. 29, 1972.. I will be 44 this year and 11 in leap years..

Me too nice to meet you

Me too nice to meet you

I'm a leap year baby. I was

I'm a leap year baby. I was born Feb. 29,1964.

Leap year

These are great facts to know

Is it time to make a change?

Is it time to make a change? One would think it should be time for any other calendar change. Why, well think it seems as though we are are a month behind the physical seasons change. When august began at times the temp dropped and everyone said well say good bye to summer. That used to take place in September.

When was the first leap year?

When was the first leap year?

Methods to synchronize

Methods to synchronize various calendars with astronomical events have been used for thousands of years. But for the present-day leap year rule for the Gregorian calendar, it started for Britain and its colonies (including America) back in 1752, when the country switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. Other countries that had used the Julian calendar made the switch earlier, some as far back as 1582, when the Gregorian calendar had first been introduced. (It was named for Pope Gregory XIII, who was involved in reforming the Julian calendar).
It is interesting to note that in the American colonies prior to 1752, New Year's Day for civil purposes was celebrated on March 25 (Lady Day, or Annunciation). So, for example, March 24, 1701, would be followed by March 25, 1702. February was the twelfth month of the year.

An Act of Parliament in 1751 in Great Britain (which applied to the American colonies as well) adopted the Gregorian calendar effective 1752, and also proclaimed January 1 as the beginning of the calendar year (thereby making February the second month). This meant that 1751 was a short year, starting March 25 and ending December 31--there were no January and February in 1751 for Britain and its colonies (but this wasn't the case in other countries already using the Gregorian calendar). January 1, 1752, started the new year, which ended on December 31, 1752.

The Act also stated that, in order to catch up to the actual time (the Julian calendar that they had been using was 11 days ahead at the time to Earth's actual orbit), September 2, 1752, would be followed by September 14, 1752. (Eleven days were dropped for that year.)
Starting in 1752, the leap year rules for the Gregorian calendar applied to Britain and its colonies. For those countries that had adopted the Gregorian calendar earlier, the first leap year in the modern sense also occurred earlier.
The Julian calendar also has leap years, but it follows a different set of rules, adding a leap day every four years.

To be honest nobody knows for

To be honest nobody knows for sure when the first leap year was although there is a theory that it was in 1752. Hope this answered your question GOODBYE

Leap year


Leap year

It was 2000