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Is Leap Day Lucky or Unlucky? A Guide to the Myths and Facts of February 29


Every four years, we get an extra day in our calendar: February 29, also known as leap day. But what is the significance of this day, and how does it affect our lives? Is it a lucky or unlucky day to be born, to get married, or to do anything else? In this blog post, we will explore the myths and facts of leap day, and answer some of the most common questions about this rare and special date.

What is Leap Day and Why Do We Have It?

Leap day is the extra day that is added to the Gregorian calendar every four years, to keep it in sync with the solar year. The solar year, or the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun, is about 365.25 days long. However, the Gregorian calendar, which is the most widely used calendar in the world, has only 365 days in a common year. This means that without leap days, the calendar would drift away from the seasons by about one day every four years. To prevent this, leap days are inserted every four years, except in years that are divisible by 100 but not by 400. For example, the year 2000 was a leap year, but the year 2100 will not be.

What are the Leap Day Superstitions and Traditions?

Leap day has been a day of traditions, folklore, and superstitions ever since leap years were first introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago. Different cultures have different beliefs and customs about this day, some of which are still practiced today. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Women propose to men: According to an old Irish legend, St. Brigid struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men on leap day, to balance the traditional roles of men and women. This legend has been debunked by historians, but the tradition of women proposing on February 29 is still alive in some countries, such as Ireland, Finland, and Denmark. In some places, men who refuse a woman’s proposal on leap day have to pay a penalty, such as a gown, money, or 12 pairs of gloves.
  • Leap day babies are unlucky: In some cultures, leap day is considered to be an unlucky day to be born, as leaplings, or people born on February 29, are said to live a life of untold suffering. This superstition is especially prevalent in Scotland, Greece, and Germany. However, in other cultures, leap day babies are celebrated and considered to be special and unique. There are also some advantages to being a leapling, such as having fewer birthday candles to blow out, and being able to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, a club for people born on February 29.
  • Leap year marriages are doomed: Another common superstition is that leap years, and especially leap days, are bad luck for couples to get married, as they will end in divorce or unhappiness. This belief is widespread in Greece, Italy, and Russia, where many couples avoid tying the knot during a leap year. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and many couples have had successful and happy marriages during leap years.
  • Leap day is a spiritual day: On the other hand, some people believe that leap day is a good day for healing, learning, and love, as it is a time to follow your soul’s innermost desires and ambitions. This belief is based on the numerology behind the date February 29, which contains the numbers 2 and 11, both of which have special meanings in the spiritual community. Some people also consider leap day to be a day of reflection and gratitude, as it is a gift of extra time.

FAQs About Leap Day

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about leap day, and their answers:

  • When is the next leap day? The next leap day is February 29, 2024. The last leap day was February 29, 2020.
  • How many people are born on leap day? According to the Guinness World Records, the chances of being born on leap day are 1 in 1,461. There are about 5 million leaplings in the world, and about 187,000 in the United States.
  • How do leaplings celebrate their birthdays? Leaplings can celebrate their birthdays on either February 28 or March 1 in common years, depending on their personal preference. Some leaplings choose to celebrate both days, or only once every four years. Some countries, such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have laws that define the legal birthday of leaplings as March 1 in common years.
  • What are some famous leaplings? Some of the celebrities who were born on leap day include: Pope Paul III (1468), Gioachino Rossini (1792), John Philip Holland (1840), Ja Rule (1976), Tony Robbins (1960), and Mark Foster (1984).
  • Are there any special events or festivals on leap day? Some of the events and festivals that take place on leap day include: the Bachelor Festival in Ireland, where single men and women gather to find love; the Sadie Hawkins Day in the United States, where women ask men out on dates; the Anthony Festival in France, where people dress up as bears and chase away winter; and the Leap Day Festival in Anthony, Texas, which is the self-proclaimed Leap Year Capital of the World.


Leap day is a fascinating and mysterious day that has inspired many myths and facts throughout history and across cultures. Whether you believe it is a lucky or unlucky day, or just a normal day, it is undeniable that leap day is a rare and special occasion that deserves to be celebrated and appreciated. After all, it only comes once every four years. So, how will you spend your next leap day?

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