If you are one of the millions of people today that feel constantly lament a lack of time, you will be happy to learn that this year, you will be getting an extra 24 hours. 2016 marks a special year in the calendar, and brings with it the elusive leap day: 29 February.
What is a leap year?
A leap year is one with 366 days and occurs just once every four years. The end of the second month in the calendar: February 29 has been designated at the as an intercalary day. According to Timeanddate.com, the majority if years that can be divided evenly by four are leap years – except century years which only count as if they can be evenly divided by 400.
Why does it happen?
To put it simply: we have the orbit of the Earth to thank for the leap year. As it takes the earth takes 365.2422 days to orbit the sun, and the Gregorian calendar only has 365 days, an extra day is added to help synchronise the calendar year with the solar year.
Leap years were first introduced by Roman dictator Julius Caesar in the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. He made any year evenly divisible by four a leap year, but the system was later adjusted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, who coined the term "leap year" and declared that a year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, is not a leap year.
Can you do anything special?
In many countries leap years are the only time that a woman can propose marriage to a man. The tradition is believed to date back to 5th-century Ireland when St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for suitors to propose, it is now practiced all over the world. In Denmark, a man refusing a woman's leap day proposal must give her 12 pairs of gloves, while in Finland it's fabric for a skirt. So come 29 February, you may find your lady on her one knee, clutching a ring and asking that all important question.
What happens if you are born on 29 February?
There is 1 in 1,461 chance of being born on 29 February and those special people are referred to as "leapers" and are said to possess unique talents and even special powers. If you are born on February 29, then most countries consider either 28 February or March 1 as the official day. However, purists choose to stick to 29 February.
On 29 February 1692, the first warrants were issued in the Salem witchcraft trials in Massachusetts.