2020 is a leap year! | Sunday Observer

2020 is a leap year!

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February alone,
Which has twenty eight each year;
And twenty nine each leap year!



Every one may know what a leap year is. It is a year with one extra day added onto February. The leap year is 366 days with 29 days in February as opposed to the normal 28 days.

There are certain facts and myths associated with the leap year.


Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage. In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn't look down on such women. It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to English law, February 29th was ignored and had no legal status. So a crime on the day is no crime at all.

There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.

A law once existed in Scotland forbidding a man to refuse a proposal made to him on February 29th. Punishment for such an offense was a large fine.

In Scotland it is thought unlucky to be born on a Leap Year's Day.


The exact time the Earth takes to complete a full circle around Sun is a little longer than a year - 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.

It was the Romans who first designated February 29 as leap day. Later, a more precise formula was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four.

The following rules decide which years are leap years: Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year. But every year divisible by 100 is not a leap year, unless the year is also divisible by 400, then it is still a leap year. This means that year 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are not leap years,

The longest time between two leap years is 8 years. The last time was between 1896 and 1904. The next time will be between 2096 and 2104. - NA