You have an extra day to check things off of your to do list. To those who were lucky enough to be born on this day, it means a proper birthday celebration can occur! While this may seem miniscule to those of us born on the other 365 days, a leap year baby born on February 29, 1960, will be celebrating his or her 13th birthday this year.
Why the extra day? In order to compensate for a solar year, one that is about 6 hours longer than 365 days, a day is added to the calendar every four years. This helps to regulate the length of time it takes the Sun to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, from the Earth’s point of view.
With a day that only comes around once every four years, there are plenty of ways to celebrate. One of the older Leap Year traditions is believed to have originated in 5th century Ireland. In a society where only men proposed, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the unfairness of women having to wait for a man’s proposal. St. Patrick considered her concern and said these women can propose on one day in February, the 29th. This tradition also found its way into Scotland, as Queen Margaret announced in 1288 that women can propose on February 29. If a man refused, he had to give the rejected woman a kiss, a silk dress or pair of gloves.
While fans of the holiday don’t need to do something as elaborate as a marriage proposal to celebrate, be sure to take advantage of the extra day of the year!