leap day – What You Didn't Know About Leap Day

What You Didn’t Know About Leap Day

Leap Day

366 days in 2016.

The Leap Year event happens every four years, adding an extra day to our calendar year in February. The reasoning behind this phenomenon is astronomical – as in the earth’s complete orbit around the sun takes an average of 365.25 days. Thus, to compensate for the extra ¼ of a day, an extra day was added to the year every fourth year, called “Leap Day.”

But enough with the technical facts. Most of us know why leap day exists, but only few of us know  that different countries and cultures around the world (including ours) have created their own traditions and celebrations for Leap Day, some of which are quite interesting.

Here are 5 interesting facts about Leap Day to consider this coming Monday:

  1. A woman can propose to a man on Leap Day, and if the man does not accept the proposal, he must pay the woman in the form of money, a kiss, a dress, or, in Europe, twelve pairs of gloves, according to an article from So look out, guys, you might have to answer an important question on Monday.
  2. Leap Year is considered “bad luck” in multiple countries across the world. In fact, according to the Telegraph, a British news source, “One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year.” However, an extra day in the year can be considered good luck, as well. As an article from Reader’s Digest so thoughtfully put it, say “you’re on a fixed monthly rent”, then you’ll get “one free day of living!”
  3. Anthony, Texas is apparently “the self-proclaimed ‘Leap Year Capital of the World’.” According to the Telegraph, a British News Source, “It holds a festival which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, “fun at the horse farm” and square dancing.”
  4. The odds of being born on leap day are 1 in 1,461, according to BBC News Magazine. You are called a “leapling” if you are born on February 29th.
  5. Leap Day is Rare Disease Day and is thus recognized every four years. ( The first Rare Disease Day was started in Europe and has since become a globally recognized event. This year, the National Institute of Health in Maryland will be sponsoring a Rare Disease Day event featuring NIH Clinical Center tours, posters, exhibits, art show and presentations. Rare diseases come in all forms and research is being conducted constantly to fight the battle against rare diseases.  According to The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, “More than 6,500 rare diseases affect humans, of which only a few hundred have any treatment,” which is why the NCATS is dedicated to providing treatments and research for these patients.Rare Diseases come in all forms and the Harrisburg Area YMCA offers Chronic Disease Prevention services at select branches that cover a multitude of illnesses. If you or someone you know is being affected by a rare disease this year, please consult your physician – there could be treatments to help.

So there you have it. 5 interesting facts about Leap Day to share with your family and friends this coming week on February 29th.

Not only is Leap Day celebrated around the world in different ways, but the Harrisburg Area YMCA will be celebrating Leap Day this year in their own special way, as well.

Leap Day

On Monday, February 29th, the Harrisburg Area YMCA Race Series will be offering a Leap Day Special for their Marathon and Half Marathon Races. If you wish to register for either of these races (or both!), make your way down to Fleet Feet Sports in Mechanicsburg from 3:00PM – 8:00PM to get $5 off your registration for the Marathon and/or the Half Marathon when you register on-site. PLUS special discounts will be given on select Fleet Feet products to registered race participants. Fleet Feet Sports in Mechanicsburg is located at: 6416 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.

And don’t forget! All early-bird specials for select races are ending on Tuesday, March 1st! So, don’t miss on a discount and register for your favorite races today! For more information on prices and dates, visit

Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

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