5 things about the leap year you may not know

  • Global
  • Saturday, 29 Feb 2020

Every leap year there is a Summer Olympics, but not all Olympic Games falls on leap years. — Filepic

Here are some things you may not know about the leap year, from famous people born on leap day, to why it is added to February and not other months.

1. Not every fourth year is a leap year

Only if the year is divisible by 400 will there be 366 days to make it a leap year. For example, 2100 is not a leap year while 2400 is.

2. There is a simple reason the 366th day is in February.

Back in the 8th century BC, the calendar was only 10 months long. Eventually, the Romans added January and February to the end of the year, with February, the final month, getting fewer days. Julius Caesar then reworked the calendar to align it with the sun, adding a Leap Day. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar and established February 29 as the official date.Leap years coincide with US Presidential elections, which are held every four years. — APLeap years coincide with US Presidential elections, which are held every four years. — AP

3. It coincides with the Summer Olympics and the US presidential elections

However, the first modern Olympics was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, which was not a leap year. The year 2100 will be an Olympics year, but that will not be a leap year either. Although the first US presidential election was held in 1788, a non leap year, most of the subsequent elections took place during these special years.

4. They are special

The chance of someone being born on leap day is 1 in 1461, or the total number of calendar days in a four-year cycle. That means the odds of being born on Feb 29 are 0.068%. There are an estimated five million Leaplings worldwide.

According to the Guinness World Records, the Henriksen family from Andenes, Norway, currently holds the official record for the most number of children born in one family on leap day.

Karin Henriksen gave birth to her daughter Heidi in 1960, and her sons Olav and Leif-Martin in 1964 and 1968 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Keogh family in the United Kingdom produced three consecutive generations of family members on Feb 29. Peter Anthony was born in 1940, his son Peter Eric was born in 1964, while his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in 1996.American rapper Ja Rule is a Leapling born in 1976. — FilepicAmerican rapper Ja Rule is a Leapling born in 1976. — Filepic

4. Celebrity Leaplings

Famous people born in a leap year include American rapper Ja Rule (born 1976); American author and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins (born 1960); British footballer Darren Ambrose (born 1984); Australian cricketer Sean Abbott (born 1992); and London-born actor Joss Ackland (born 1928).

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