Every four years or so February gets an extra day. Here are some things about leap years that you should know.

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Why do we have Leap Years?
It takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to make one orbit around the sun. Without leap years keeping us in sync we would lose almost 6 hours a year. After a century that would add up to 24 days.

Why is the extra day in February?
When Julius Caesar created his calendar, each month had 30 or 31 days except for August which had 29. After Caesar Augustus became emperor he added 2 days to the month named after him. That dropped February from 30 days to 28 days.

Leap years do not technically happen every 4 years.
Julius Caesar created the first leap year in 46 B.C. He stated that they would occur on any year divisible by 4, which created too many leap days. His error wasn't corrected until Pope Gregory XIII fixed the math 1,500 years later with the Gregorian calendar. The new rules meant that any year both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400 are not leap years.

Why does the woman propose on a leap year?
According to legend, St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for a proposal. St Patrick then gave them a day to pop the question, once every 4 years.

What if you're born on February 29?
People born on February 29th are called "leapers" or "leaplings". The chances of being one of the 4.1 million people born on a leap day are 1 in 1,461.

Famous people born on a leap day.

  • John Byrom - Romantic poet
  • Pope Paul III - 16th Century pontiff
  • George Bridgetower - 19th Century musician
  • Ann Lee - leader of the Shakers
  • Gioacchino Rossini - Italian composer
  • Charles Pritchard - British astronomer
  • Tony Robbins - Motivational speaker
  • Alan Richardson - composer
  • Ja Rule - rapper

Read more at Mother Nature Network.