What are the odds of you being born on the 29th day of February, or better known as the leap day? How must it have felt to celebrate your born day only every after four years? Must be bizarre. Then again, there is a reason why a leap day is added every four years.
We all know the earth takes 365 days to complete its orbit around the sun. However, it is not the exact number. The full revolution of the earth takes 365.2422 days or 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds. If a leap day is not added every four years in February, the calendar would have begun about 6 hours before the Earth completes its revolution around the Sun.
Aside from the fact that it only happens once every four years, other things also made the leap day fun.
Leap Year Babies
Or leaplings as we call it. Being born on February 29 is so rare that the probability of it happening is only .068 percent or 1 in 1,461. It is rarer than being born with 11 fingers and toes, which is 1 in 500. As of 2018, there are only about five million Leaplings in the whole world- 187,000 in the US.
In 1700, women took the British play joke too seriously that leap day is a day when women should trade their dresses for ‘breeches’ and act like men. Thus, they used leap days to propose to men. The tradition continues until today and is now known as Bachelor’s Day or Sadie Hawkins Day.
Salem Witch Trials
Leap day wasn’t at all memorable in colonial America. Feb 29, 1962, the first warrants of arrest were issued for the Salem witchcraft trial. The trial convicted 19 “witches” to be hanged and many other suspects to be imprisoned in Salem Village.
born and died on leap day
Being born on a leap day is rare, dying on a leap day also is rare. But, what’s the likelihood of being born and died on a leap day? It happened to the British-born James Milne Wilson. Wilson died on February 29th, 1880, on his “17th” birthday, or aged 68 in regular years.
Leap day Cocktail
In 1928, pioneering bartender Harry Craddock invented the leap day cocktail. It was said on the 1930 Savoy Cocktail book that the cocktail has been “responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail ever mixed.”
Want a sip of that famous leap day cocktail? Try Craddock’s original recipe:
1 dash lemon juice
1/6 Grand Marnier
1/6 sweet vermouth
leap year capital of the world
In 1988, with the help of local leapers Mary Ann Brown and Birdie Lewis, Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico celebrates the Worldwide leap year festival. The festival goes on for several more leap years. It features parades, tours, southwestern dancing, and of course, birthday cake.