The History of Leap Year

leap yearAbout four million people in the world were born on February 29 – Leap Day. On that day, every four years, those people get to do something most people get to do once every year. They get to celebrate their birthday on the actual date they were born.

Having a 366-day-long year is an interesting phenomena that we’ve all grown up with. If you’re like me, you never really questioned it. It has always just been part of life. But, given that this February will include Leap Day, I was wondering why exactly we, as humans, thought it necessary to tack that day onto the year. So, I looked into the history of the Leap Year.

The History of Leap Year

The fascinating reason why we add a day onto the year once every four years is so that we can sync up our calendar with the solar calendar. A year technically isn’t exactly 365 days – it is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. This extra amount of time that it takes the earth to rotate around the sun once adds up over the years. So, every four years, we add on an extra day in February to get us back in sync with the solar calendar. It was Julius Caesar and his team of astronomers, back in the first century BC, that came up with this system.

Now that we know why the Leap Day exists, let’s get into some fun ways to celebrate a unique and special birthday!

Ways to Celebrate a Leap Day Birthdaycelebrating leap day

Have a birthday party with a theme of the year you are “technically” aging into.
Meaning, if you are technically having your sixth actual birthday, and you were born in 1980, have a 1986 themed birthday party! Calculate how many times you’ve gotten to celebrate your birthday on February 29th, then add that to the year you were born, and that’s the year you should make your theme!

Celebrate like a kid.
If you’ve only celebrated your birthday on the actual day you were born a few times, then pretend you’re a little kid having their birthday, and have bouncy castles, face painting, pony rides, lawn games, and anything else that makes you feel like a little kid again!

Get a free meal at participating restaurants.

Have a sLEAPover party…
Haha, get it?

Throw a space party.
Get into the spirit of the origin of the Leap Day, and have an astronomy themed party!

Have a leaping themed party.
Think frog decor and games of potato-sack races and hopscotch!

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Allison ErvinAllison Ervin, granddaughter of company founder Jay Lehman, is passionate about the powerless – children, animals and anyone in need. A freshman at Kent State majoring in international business with a minor in non-profit management, she has served in Indonesia and Central America, teaching English in daycare centers and orphanages. A committed vegetarian, when not studying or cat-cuddling, Allison enjoys painting, listening to the latest music, and thrifting (shopping at thrift and vintage stores).