Learn about Leap Day

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February 29, 2012 marks the third leap day of the millennium. Leap day is added to the calendar in order to compensate for the extra 6 hours it takes the earth to orbit the sun every year that do not make it onto the regular calendar.

By Hoku Krueger, news co-editor

Every four years, the month of February gets an extra day in a well-known event called a leap year. Today, February 29, 2012, will be the first and only leap day the current high school students of Kamehameha Schools Maui will see before they graduate.

Why there is leap year:

An extra day is added to the Gregorian calendar in order to keep it aligned with Earth’s revolutions around the sun. Every year is approximately 365 days and 6 hours long. Because the calendar normally only allows for 365 days, every four years when 25 hours has accumulated, February 29 becomes a day.

Leap year traditions and superstitions:

In Scotland, it is believed to be bad luck if someone is born on Leap Day.

In Greece, it is believed to be bad luck if a couple gets married on Leap Day.

In an old Irish tale, it is said that women were allowed to propose to men on Leap Day, and if the man refused, he had to pay her with money or an expensive garment.

Rules to a leap year:

A leap year must be divisible by four. It cannot be divisible by 100 unless it is also divisible by 400. For example, the year 2000 would be a leap year, but the years 1900 and 2100 would not.

Celebrity birthdays on leap year:

1468: Pope Paul III – last Renaissance pope

1792: Gioacchino Rossini – Italian composer (William Tell, The Barber of Seville)

1892: Augusta Christine Savage – first Black member of the National Association of Woman Painters and Sculptures

1896: Ranchhodji Morarji Desai – 6th Prime Minister of india

1904: Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr. – had a Christian name for every letter in the alphabet

1916: Dinah Shore – American singer

1924: Carlos Humberto Romero – former president of El Salvador

1964: Lyndon Byers – Canadian hockey player

1976: Ja Rule – American rapper and actor

1980: Chris Conley – American musician, songwriter and composer