I think that everyone should get leap day off from work. There could be some kind of bacchanalia-type festival and lots of inappropriate celebration. I mean, it only happens once every four years. It’s like the Olympics or the World Cup—except interesting.
I wish I had the power to grant holidays. But, unfortunately, the only thing I can do is collect some fun leap day-related word stuff for you. Enjoy!
leap year: a year in the Gregorian calendar containing 366 days with February 29 as the extra day
Leap year etymology:
Our friends at wordorigins.org have written a fantastic post about the history of the term leap year. (Really, you should check it out.) And this is what they tracked down about its entrance to the written language:
“The term leap year isn’t cited in English until 1387, when it appears in John de Trevisa’s translation of Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden:
That tyme Iulius amended the kalender, and fonde the cause of the lepe yere.
(That time Julius amended the calendar and established the cause of the leap year.)
While the term leap year isn’t recorded until the Middle English period, it probably was in use in Old English. The term hlaup-ár, or leap year, is recorded in Old Norse and most Norse calendrical terms were borrowed from Old English. So it seems likely that Norse acquired this one from Old English too.”
Other leap words
So we know about leap year and leap day. But did you know there’s a leap second?
leap second: an intercalary second added to Coordinated Universal Time to compensate for the slowing of the earth’s rotation and keep Coordinated Universal Time in synchrony with solar time
Fun fact: Since the powers that be began adding leap seconds in 1972, there have been only twenty-five. Lucky for us, the next one will be June 30.
Also, people born on leap day are known as leaplings. Some notable leaplings include: Pope Paul III (1468), Dinah Shore (1916), Tony Robbins (1960), Saul Williams (1972), and Ja Rule (1976).
How are you going to celebrate leap day?
However you choose to spend today, I hope you find a way to make it a special occasion. Feel free to share your leap day thoughts and stories in the comments section.