- In Ireland, 29 February is called Bachelor's Day, when women are allowed to propose to men. Queen Margaret of Scotland began the tradition in 1288. If a man refused the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or 12 pairs of gloves.
- Julius Caesear introduced the idea when he ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, to simplify the calendar. Sosigenes opted for the 365-day year with an extra day every four years to scoop up the extra hours. But he created too many leap years. Every 400 years, there are an three extra days, so to compensate, centuries must be divisible by 400 to count as leap years. Years like 1700, 1800 and 1900 are only 365 days long, rather than 366.
- The chances of having a birthday on a leap day are about one in 1,461.
- Two women have given birth to three leap day babies, according to the New York Daily News. The Henriksen family from Norway had their children on leap days in 1960, 1964 and 1968. The most recent family to tie the record is the Estes family from Utah. Their children were born in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
- The eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, was born on a leap day and died on a leap day in the 1800s, according to the World Heritage Encyclopedia.
- In order to gain the trust of the indigenous people of Jamaica, Christopher Columbus used the lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504, to trick them. The local chiefs had stopped helping his crew with the food and provisions they had been supplying. Columbus warned them that God was going to punish them by painting the moon red. During the eclipse, Columbus said God would end the punishment if they cooperated. The chiefs capitulated and agreed to give them supplies, and saw that the lunar eclipse had ended.
- The first warrants of the Salem witch trials were issued on February 29, 1692. The trials continued until early 1693 and resulted in the execution of 20 people and the death of seven others in jail, History.com reported.
- One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.
- In 1960, the 5.7Mw Agadir earthquake shook Morocco. Its maximum perceived intensity was X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Between 12,000-15,000 people – about a third of the city's population of the time – were killed and another 12,000 injured with at least 35,000 people left homeless, making it the most destructive and deadliest earthquake in Moroccan history.
- In Russia it is believed a leap year is likely to bring more freak weather patterns and a greater risk of death all round.
- In Taiwan, married daughters traditionally return home during the leap month as it is believed the lunar month can bring bad health to parents. Daughters bring pig trotter noodles to wish them good health and good fortune.
Leap Year 2016 – 11 weird and wonderful facts about 29 February
This article was first published on February 28, 2016