Leaping into March '96
As everyone knows, leap year occurs every four years when a 29th day is added to the month of February. But did you know...
- We have England's Henry VIII to thank for proclaiming that people born on Feb. 29 would celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 on non-leap years.
- It has been the custom that women can propose to men on this day, and that men who refuse are required to pay a forfeit. For this reason, the day is often called Bachelor's Day.
- The astronomical year is 365.242 days, which is the time it takes the earth to make an orbit around the sun. The addition of Feb. 29 every four years compensates for the extra quarter day. This makes the astronomical calendar more closely match the solar calendar.
- Leap year occurs in every year that can be evenly divided by four, excepting century years, unless they can be divided by 400. That makes the year 2000 a leap year.