Everything You Need To Know About A Leap Year


Ava Johnson

Why does February have 29 days this year?

This year, 2020, is a leap year. A leap year has 366 days instead of 365. February has an extra day added to it.


How often does a leap year occur?

Every four years. Therefore, the next leap year will be February 29, 2024. 


Why does February have an extra day out of all the months?

February is the only month that doesn’t have 30 or 31 days. This is because of past Roman emperors. Originally, the theory states February had 30 days before the rule of Roman Emperor, Augustus. He supposedly wanted to have his month, August, to have as many days as July – 31. July was named after Julius Caesar. At the time, August only had 29 days, but Augustus took two days off of February for August to be equal to July. 


Why do leap years happen?

Leap years are crucial in order to keep the Gregorian calendar in check with Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. It takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days to revolve once. Each year would start around 6 hours before the Earth completes its revolution if the extra day was not added. In that case, in 100 years, this occasion would throw the calendar off by around 24 days, impacting the seasons. 


What happens if someone is born on a leap day?

If someone is born on a leap day, their birthday can legally fall on February 28 or March 1. The day they celebrate their birthday is up to the individual. In the UK and the US, someone born on a leap day becomes a year older on the day before his or her birthday. 


What are some fun facts about a leap year/day?

  • Two families have three children all born on Leap Days
  • The odds of being born on a leap day are 1 in 1,461 or . 068 per cent.
  • If someone was born on February 29, 2000, they are technically turning five this year. (They are actually turning 20).
  • People born on February 29 are called “leaplings,” or “leapers.”
  • The frog is usually associated with a leap year. The Australian rocket frog is known to be able to leap over two meters, hence why the frog is a symbol.
  • There are more than 10,000 members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies, a club for people born on Feb. 29. 
  • The legal birthday of a “leapling” in Hong Kong is March 1, but in New Zealand it is February 28.
  • Pope Gregory XIII made leap years not fall on centennial years, unless that year was divisible by four, therefore, 2000 was a leap year, but not 1700, 1800 or 1900). 1600 and 2400 are also considered leap years.