This, my friends, is a very special year, and not only because it's an election year, or because Beyonce is embarking on her Formation tour. No, this year will be logged in our annals for a very different reason — 2016 is a leap year, meaning we get to enjoy one whole extra day of February. But, you may be wondering when is Leap Day, exactly? Leap Day is Feb. 29, and you don't want to let it pass you by. This special day only comes but once every four years, and like most holidays, has the tendency to sneak up on you out of nowhere. One minute you're enjoying a nice long Presidents' Day weekend, trying desperately to forget the pink madness of Valentine's Day, and then boom — before you know it, Leap Day is upon us, and you never even saw it coming.
While Leap Day isn't a holiday that mandates a huge celebration necessarily, it still comes loaded with tradition. The calendar date anomaly has been around for more than 2,000 years (it's believed to have been first implemented by Julius Caesar, who tacked it onto the Julian calendar in 45 BCE). Some believe that being born on a leap year is lucky, while in other cultures, getting married during a leap year is incredibly bad luck. At any rate, Leap Day 2016 happens to fall on a Monday, meaning you at least have an excuse to celebrate what would otherwise be just another mundane start to the work week. That counts for something, right?
When is Leap Day 2016?
Normally, there are 28 days in February, but on leap years, which happen once every four years, there are 29. So, this year Leap Day is Feb. 29, 2016.
What is Leap Day, exactly?
Seriously, what's up with all this calendar mayhem? You probably learned in elementary school that it takes 365 days for the Earth to travel fully around the sun. In actuality, it takes the Earth 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds to make its full journey. To even out the calendar and make up for the extra time, an extra day is added every four years. If it wasn't for leap years, our seasons would be almost 25 days off after 100 years, according to the Farmer's 2016 Almanac.
When is the next Leap Day?
The next Leap Day is Feb. 29, 2020. The last Leap Day was Feb. 29, 2012. As a general rule, leap years are usually divisible by four. That being said, century years (like 1800) are typically not leap years.
Are you going to celebrate Leap Day? You might as well! Not only is it a rarity, it's also cooler than a whole lot of other winter holidays **cough Valentine's Day cough**.
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