10 things to know about leap year

By: Jennifer Sigouin | Online Only | Published February 26, 2016

Monday, Feb. 29, is a leap day — a day that you'll only see on the calendar every four years. But do you know why?

Here are some interesting leap year facts from the Old Farmer's Almanac, timeanddate.com and leapyearday.com.

• The main purpose of having a leap year is to keep the seasons in sync with our calendar. It takes Earth 365.2422 days to revolve around the sun, which is more than the modern Gregorian calendar's 365 days. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years brings the calendar in line with the four seasons.

• If we didn't add a leap day, we would lose almost six hours from our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by about 24 days.

• A leap year is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400 — so 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was.

• The first leap year was introduced by Roman general Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago, although the ancient Roman Calendar added an extra month every four years, which was corrected when the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582.

• People born on a leap day are called "leaplings" and can join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.

• Famous "leaplings" include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, musician/rapper/poet Saul Stacey Williams, actor Antonio Sabàto Jr. and rapper Ja Rule.

• In 1988, Time magazine ran a cover story celebrating Superman's 50th birthday, and proclaimed that he was be born on Feb. 29.

• According to an old Irish legend, St. Brigid made a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men once every four years — on leap day — in order to balance the traditional roles of men and women.

• In some European countries, any man who refused a woman's proposal on February 29 had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves so she could hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

• Some believe leap years bring bad luck. There's even an old proverb that states "leap year was ne’er a good sheep year.”

Do you have a leap day birthday? Do you do anything special for leap year? Leave us a comment and let us know how you celebrate.