29 February 2012   According to Wikipedia: February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year.

A person who is born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leap year baby”. In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic intercalary dates.

From Time and Date (.com): According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

Something to ponder, a quandary perhaps, for those on an annual salary. Does it mean that every four years you give a day’s labour for free to your employer?

Some notable Leaplings:

  • 1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
  • 1852 – George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, Russian nobleman (d. 1912)
  • 1904 – Rukmini Devi Arundale, Indian dancer and founder of Kalakshetra (d. 1986)
  • 1920 – Howard Nemerov, American poet (d. 1991)
  • 1932 – Jaguar, Brazilian cartoonist
  • 1936 – Jack Lousma, American astronaut
  • 1944 – Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Italian illustrator
  • 1968 – Naoko Iijima, Japanese actress
  • 1968 – Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist
  • 1980 – Ruben Plaza, Spanish cyclist
  • 1980 – Michail Mouroutsos, Greek Olympic taekwondo gold medalist
  • 1992 – Sean Abbott, Australian cricketer

Happy Birthday Leaplings!!


  1. Brooks said:
    26 March 1:58 pm

    Saved, I enjoy your blog! 🙂