Take a Leap
The year 2020 has the special recognition of being a Leap Year, a title that occurs every four years. The actual Leap Day will be observed on February 29th.
In a normal calendar year, known as a common year, February is the shortest month with only 28 days, but during a leap year, or intercalary year, the month gains an extra day, giving it a new total of 29 days. The Earth does not truly orbit the sun in exactly 365 days, so this extra day is added every 4 years to our calendar as a corrective measure.
Once a leap year occurs, a fixed date normally advances by one day. For instance, Christmas fell on a Wednesday in 2019, but since 2020 is a leap year, Christmas has “leapt” over Thursday and will be observed on a Friday.
Those born on leap day have the unique position of celebrating their true date of birth only once every 4 years. Many individuals born on February 29th have been known to joke and celebrate milestone births on what they claim to be the accurate date. For example, someone turning 64 will celebrate with a Sweet Sixteen bash.
There are some customs that have come to pass on leap day as well. In the Irish culture, February 29th has been designated as the only day that a woman is permitted to propose marriage to a man. Hollywood documented this fun tradition in the 2010 romantic comedy aptly named “Leap Year”, starring Amy Adams.
Some societies view the year and bonus day with hope, while others see it as bad luck and follow certain superstitions. Whatever beliefs might be, observing leap day only once every 4 years gives the opportunity for special events. And as the name suggests, it’s the perfect chance for taking a leap and trying something out of the ordinary.