Home > Calendar > Leap Day: February 29

Leap Day: February 29

A Leap Day, February 29, is added to the calendar during leap years. This extra day makes the year 366 days long – not 365 days, like a common year.

Today, women can ask a man to marry her.

Role reversal on leap day.

Traditionally, women take the ring into their own hands and propose on leap day.

©iStockphoto.com/AntonioGuillem

When Is the Next Leap Day?

2016 is a leap year, so the next leap day is
February 29, 2016.

The last Leap Day was on February 29, 2012.

Why Add a Leap Day?

Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun.

It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This called a tropical year.

Without an extra – or intercalary – day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days in relation to fixed seasonal days days like the vernal equinox or winter solstice.

Is There a Perfect Calendar?

Caesar Introduced Leap Years

Roman general Julius Caesar implemented the first leap day in his Julian Calendar, which he introduced in 45 BCE (Before Common Era). A leap day was added every four years. At the time, leap day was February 24, and February was the last month of the year.

Too Many Leap Years

However, adding a leap day every four years was too often and eventually, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar. This calendar, which we still use today, has a more precise formula for calculationg of leap years, also known as bissextile years.

USA 1752: Why Are Some Days Missing?

Traditions & Folklore

Leap day as a concept has existed for more than 2000 years, and is still associated with age-old customs, folklore and superstition. One of the most well-known traditions is that women propose  to their boyfriends, instead of the other way around.

What's a Leap Second?

Leap Months

The ancient Roman Calendar added an extra month every few years to maintain the correct seasonal changes, similar to the Chinese leap month.

Different Types of Calendars

Topics: Leap Year, Calendar, February

Leap Days 2016 – 2032

YearFebruary 29 – Day of the Week
2016Monday
2020Saturday
2024Thursday
2028Tuesday
2032Sunday

Advertising

Leap Day Library

  1. Leap Day is February 29
  2. Customs & Traditions
  3. Common Year vs. Leap Year
  4. Born on Leap Day
  5. February 30 Was a Real Date

What is a Leap Year?


Create Calendar With Holidays


Alternative Leap Years

  1. Bahá'í Leap Year
  2. Chinese Leap Year
  3. Ethiopian leap year
  4. The Hindu leap year
  5. The Iranian Leap Year
  6. The Islamic leap year
  7. The Jewish Leap Year

Leap Years in Other Calendars

You might also like

The Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar is one of the oldest calendars in modern society. It is a lunisolar calendar. more

Chinese Leap Month

Instead of adding one Leap Day on February 29 nearly every four years, the Chinese add a Leap Month every 3 years to keep their calendar in line with the Earth's rotation. more

Ethiopian leap year

A leap year occurs once every 4 years in the Ethiopian calendar, in which 1 extra day is added at the end of the year. more

Prophet's Birthday

The Islamic leap year

A leap year in the the Islamic Hijri calendar occurs 11 times in a 30-year cycle, in which 1 day is added to the last month of the year. more