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2024 Leap Year

Updated: Mar 11

We all know that the annual calendar has 365 days a year, but what happens every four years? Do we know the reason for this phenomenon?

According to the Gregorian annual calendar, the one used in almost every country in the world, the year is divided into twelve months which have 30 or 31 days in total except for February which is known to be the shortest of all with 28 days. But every four years, this month is characterized by having an extra day, that is, 29 days. The year is called a "leap year" and has 366 days in total. In ancient times, it was established to add an extra day every four years in order to respect the exact beginning of the seasons. As the Earth does not revolve around the Sun exactly in 365 days but in 365,242 days, by adding one more day we can respect exactly the beginning of the equinoxes and compensate for that difference that, however small, over the years generates an inequality. Thus, for example, autumn (in the southern hemisphere or spring in the northern hemisphere) begins every year on March 20 and over the years its beginning would not change the day.

A very curious question is what happens to people born on this date? Those who were born on February 29 can choose to celebrate their birthday either a day earlier, on February 28, or a day later, on March 1. But, when the leap year is again, they will be able to celebrate it on the exact date, February 29. Legally, on the identity card, people are noted with the precise date of the day of their birth.  

If at any time you wondered what famous people were born on this atypical date, let me tell you that there are not many since coinciding being born on that day with being famous is a little difficult.  Having said that, those who this year will be able to celebrate their birthday on the exact date they were born are the actors Reilly Dolman,  Jessie T. Usher and British actress Rakhee Thakrar. Beloved actor Dennis Farina, who would have had his birthday that day, will be remembered. American science fiction and fantasy writer Tim Powers. Ferran Torres, professional football player for Manchester City and Pedro Sánchez, current President of Spain, among others.

There are many superstitions and beliefs that run through this subject. There are people who believe each of them and others who completely ignore them. Whether you are one of them or not, we share with you the most common ones about being born on a date as special as February 29.

• "They have birthdays once every four years." Although it would be beneficial for those people who don't like birthdays, this is totally false. As we explained above, the person can choose to celebrate it on February 28 or March 1, or both days, why not?

• "Those born on February 29 are special children." Well, in particular we are all special but there is no scientific proof that these children are gifted or that they possess superpowers.

• In Scotland, this day is not a good day of any kind as it is considered "bad luck" like Friday the 13th in the United States.

So, leap years are so called because they have 366 days, instead of 365 as they commonly have. This extra day is added to the calendar as February 29. If you have an event on this particular date, just enjoy it as one more day.

By Marina Chauffaille