I hope you enjoyed it.
It was an “extra” day to enjoy another beautiful day in the neighborhood, as Mr. Rodgers would say.
There were 306 days left to enjoy this year from leap day. That is, if you don’t give any credence to the Mayan myth about later this year, but that’s another story.
Anyway, that issue aside, you won’t be able to enjoy a leap day again for four more years. It has something to do with a regular year actually being almost six hours longer every year, so every four years, it adds up to almost one entire extra day every four years. The leap year idea was added about 2000 years ago when the Gregorian Calendar was introduced and they couldn’t figure out a way to add those six-something hours into a year. Or something like that.
Sometimes it’s even eight years between leap years because, like in the year 1900, I believe, there wasn’t a Feb. 29, even though the previous one was in 1896. The reason for this is, most of the time, leap years occur in years divisible by four. It’s really not too terribly complicated, so let me give explaining it a whirl.
Years that can be divided by 100 but NOT by 400 do not have a leap day in them. I don’t know why. So, 2100 will not be a leap year and it’ll be eight years between actual Feb. 29 birthdays from 2096 to 2104.
It’s just something that has to be accepted, I guess.
But while I was researching leap day and leap year, I found some other interesting tidbits, questions and insights.
First of all, when it isn’t a leap year, what day do leap year babies celebrate? Feb. 28 or March 1? Answer: It’s pretty much mixed. Some in February and others in March. Personally, I’d probably just celebrate all leap year long to make up for not having an “official” birthday for so many years in between.
But then again, I really would enjoy not getting as old as everybody else — “officially.” I love the sound of that.
OK. More trivia.
Supposedly, although 5 million people in the world today were born on Feb. 29, according to my research, insurance companies refuse to recognize Feb. 29 as a valid birthdate. How can they do that? Well, I couldn’t find out, but I did find out other little interesting leap year factoids.
In 1712, Feb. 29 was followed by a Feb. 30 — but only in Sweden. Something to do with trying to get rid of the Swedish calendar for an older version of the calendar.
In 1768, Polish nobles formed the Bar Confederation which was some sort of federation defending a Polish-Lithuanian agreement against Russian influence. Whatever.
In 1864, again on Feb. 29 of that year, the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails to free Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Va.
In 1936, Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice — the real Fanny Brice, not Barbra Streisand — debuts on the radio program “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.”
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced he would run for a second term.
In 1960, the cartoon “Family Circus” made its debut.
In 1972, Hank Aaron becomes the first Major League Baseball player to sign a contract for $200,000.
Those celebrating birthdays on Feb. 29 are known as leap year babies or, and this I never heard of, leaplings. I don’t know. Sounds like somebody made this one up, don’t you?Some of the other notable persons, from sports figures to artists and writers, politicians to astronauts, born on Feb. 29 include:In 1468, Pope Paul III, who died in 1549.
In 1904, Jimmy Dorsey, the American bandleader, who died in 1957.In 1916, Dinah Shore, American singer and actress, was born. She died in 1994.
In 1932, Reri Grist, African-American coloratura soprano, was born.
In 1936, Jack Lousma, American astronaut, was born.Dennis Farina, American actor, was born in 1944.Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker, was born in 1960.Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-born actor, was born in 1972.
One notable was both born on Feb. 29 in 1812, and also died on Feb. 29, but in 1880. He was Sir James Wilson, premier of Tasmania.
Others who departed on Feb. 29 include the following:
In 1604, John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, died. He was born in 1530.
In 1792, Johann Andreas Stein, German piano builder, died. He was born in 1728.
Pat Garrett, American gunslinger, was born in 1850, but died on Feb. 29, 1908.
In 1960, Melvin Purvis, American law enforcement official and FBI agent, died. He was born in 1903.
In 1992, Earl Scheib, the American car repainter, died. He was born in 1908.
And just this past leap day, Davy Jones, English singer, songwriter and actor of The Monkees fame, died. He was only 66, born in 1945.
Now that truly casts a pall on all future leap days.
But a more uplifting memory for leap day is the tradition that women can ask a man to marry them on Feb. 29. Some traditions then go on to say that, if the man refuses, he must give her money or clothing, such as a dress, but more appropriately a dozen or so gloves to hide the fact the woman isn’t married and not wearing a wedding ring.
Oh, my! I don’t know what to say about that one.
But I really like this next little piece of leap day news.
Apparently, people born on Feb. 29 can all join something called “The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.”
Leap day is known as St. Oswald Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on Feb. 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on Feb. 29 during leap years and on Feb. 28 every other year.
And leaping lastly but not leastly — is that even a word? — into my last leap day trivia, and what is the funnest — not a word either, I don’t think, but an appropriate thought nonetheless — bit of info so far, the “Guinness Book of Records” has recorded world record holders of both three consecutive generations of a family member being born on Feb. 29 and also a record for the largest number of children born on Feb. 29 in the same family.
I didn’t check up on this because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I found out it wasn’t true, because it is just too cool. I really want it to be true.
I’m gonna take a leap of faith.