Did you realize that 2020 is a leap year? That’s right – it’s that special time when our calendars add an extra day. It adjusts our Gregorian calendar to match the actual time it takes the Earth to travel around the sun. It’s the day when people pretend to cry so that “Leap Day William” will throw candy at them. Okay, so that part was made up by 30 Rock…But there is a lot more to this day than you might realize. I’ve got some fun facts about Leap Year for your bonus-day enjoyment!
Leap Day Skips Around
For as long as probably all of us have been alive, a Leap Year has happened every four years without fail. But that’s not exactly how it works. Leap Years normally fall on years that are divisible by four (like this year, 2020), but century years aren’t always leap years. They have to be divisible by 400. So, the year 2000 was one, but the year 2100 won’t be!
A Good Day to Die?
Know someone with a birthday on Leap Day? You probably do. They’re called “Leaplings” or “Leapers” How about someone who died on Leap Day? You might know someone who did that as well. But the eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, did both. His birthday was February 29th, 1812, and he died February 29th, 1880!
And the Oscar Goes To…
Though some cultures think that Leap Day is unlucky, it was likely a good day for Hattie McDaniel. She was the first African American to win an Oscar! However, I would be remiss not to mention that, due to segregation at the time (1940) she was not allowed to sit at the same table as her white co-stars, and the producer had to get special permission for her to attend.
Good or Bad?
As for the aforementioned bad luck, several bad things have happened on Leap Days. The Titanic sank on Leap Day in 1912. The first warrants in connection with the Salem Witch Trials went out on Leap Day in 1692. But it’s not all bad news – in 1752, Benjamin Franklin did his key-and-kite experiment and proved that lightning is electricity. Prospectors in California struck gold on Leap Day in 1848!
There you have it! You’re ready to celebrate Leap Day with all these fun facts to delight and amaze your friends! In all seriousness, do something fun or take a risk – this day won’t happen again for four more years!