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definitions - February_29

February 29 (n.)

1.the name of the day that is added during a leap year

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synonyms - February_29

February 29 (n.)

bissextile day, leap day

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analogical dictionary


February 29

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29
  2012 (Wednesday)
  2008 (Friday)
  2004 (Sunday)

February 29, also known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400, do not contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of the year.


  Leap years

Although most years of the modern calendar have 365 days, a complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, during which an extra 24 hours have accumulated, one extra day is added to keep the count coordinated with the sun's apparent position.

It is, however, slightly inaccurate to calculate an additional 6 hours each year. A better approximation, derived from the Alfonsine tables, is that the Earth makes a complete revolution around the sun in 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds. As required by the Gregorian calendar, to compensate for the difference, an end-of-century year is not a leap year unless it is also exactly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600 and 2000 were leap years, as will be 2400 and 2800, but the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not, nor will 2100, 2200, and 2300.

The Gregorian calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks including 97 leap days. Over this period, February 29 falls on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday 13 times each; 14 times each on Friday and Saturday; and 15 times each on Monday and Wednesday.

The concepts of the leap year and leap day are distinct from the leap second, which results from changes in the Earth's rotational speed.

  Adding a leap day (after 23 February) shifts the commemorations in the 1962 Roman Missal.

The leap day was introduced as part of the Julian reform. The day following the Terminalia (February 23) was doubled, forming the "bis sextum"—literally 'double sixth', since February 24 was 'the sixth day before the Kalends of March' using Roman inclusive counting (March 1 was the 'first day'). Although exceptions exist, the first day of the bis sextum (February 24) was usually regarded as the intercalated or "bissextile" day since the third century.[1] February 29 came to be regarded as the leap day when the Roman system of numbering days was replaced by sequential numbering in the late Middle Ages.



A person who is born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leap year baby". In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic intercalary dates.

In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, a person born on February 29 legally attains the age of 18 on March 1 in the relevant year.[2][3]

In cases of New Zealand citizens, the Parliament has decreed that if a date of birth was February 29, in non-leap years the legal birth date date shall be the preceding day, February 28. This is affirmed in §2(2) of the Land Transport Act 1999.[4]

In the United States, a person legally attains a given age on the day before his corresponding birthday, i.e., the anniversary of his birth corresponding to that age. Accordingly, anyone born on a Leap Day legally turns 21 on February 28th, twenty-one years later.[5]

In Taiwan (Republic of China) and in New Zealand, the legal birthday of a leapling is February 28 in common years:

"If a period fixed by weeks, months, and years does not commence from the beginning of a week, month, or year, it ends with the ending of the day which proceeds the day of the last week, month, or year which corresponds to that on which it began to commence. But if there is no corresponding day in the last month, the period ends with the ending of the last day of the last month.[6]"

Thus, in England and Wales or in Hong Kong, a person born on February 29, 1996, will have legally reached 18 years old on March 1, 2014. If he or she was born in the United States, Taiwan or New Zealand, he or she legally becomes 18 on February 28, 2014, a day earlier.

There are many instances in children's literature where a person's claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. A similar device is used in the plot of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance: As a child, Frederic was apprenticed to a band of pirates until his 21st birthday. Now, having passed his 21st year, he leaves the pirate band and falls in love. However, since he was born on February 29, that day will not arrive until he is in his eighties. As such, he must leave his fiancée and return to the pirates. It may be worked out from the opera's dialogue[7] that Frederic's birthday is February 29, 1852 thus making the opera set in 1873. (This assumes that Frederic is aware that 1900 will not be a leap year. If not, the dates would be later by four years.) This plot point was also used in a Sherlock Holmes story based on the Basil Rathbone era, where a friend of Dr. Watson's is a baronet who is due to receive his inheritance on the New Year's Day of the year where his twenty-first birthday will be celebrated, only for the law to deprive him of the money as he was born on February 29; with the 84-year-old Baronet distraught at the news that 1900 is not a leap year, Holmes helps the Baronet fake his death long enough for his grandson- who is the appropriate age to receive the inheritance- to establish his claim and receive the money himself.

Other notable persons born on February 29:


  Holidays and observances

  Folk traditions

There is a popular tradition in some countries that a woman may propose marriage to a man on February 29. If the man refuses, he then is obligated to give the woman money or buy her a dress. In upper-class societies in Europe, if the man refuses marriage, he then must purchase 12 pairs of gloves for the woman, suggesting that the gloves are to hide the woman's embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. In Ireland, the tradition is supposed to originate from a deal that Saint Bridget struck with Saint Patrick.[8][9]

In Greece it is considered unlucky to marry on Leap Day.[10]

  Rare Leap Day milestones

The only notable person known to have both been born and died on February 29 was Sir James Wilson (1812–1880), Premier of Tasmania.[11]

In 2012, one of the rarest feats in the annals of family planning had occurred. A Utah woman gave birth on a third consecutive Leap Day, tying a record set in the 1960s. The only other known case of triple Leap Day babies is a family in Norway, which logged Feb. 29 births in 1960, 1964 and 1968, according to the Guinness World Records press office.[12]


  External links



All translations of February_29

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