Celebrate Leap Day

This year has an extra day, leap day, on February 29. Want to know more about this day that comes around every four years for those following a Gregorian calendar?

First, people who are born on February 29 are known as leaplings. If you are the parent of one of these young ones, teach them about leap years in What in the World is a Leap Year?: And Other Time Measurements.

A classic story of the downfalls of one birthday every four years is featured in Pirates of Penzance. Watch the movie or listen to the opera’s CD of a performance at the 2011 Ohio Light Opera Festival. In this comedy of errors, Frederic is a lovesick leapling who was mistakenly given to pirates instead of pilots for an apprenticeship. His release date, his chance to build a life with his love, is his 21st birthday, but as a leapling his 21st birthday technically doesn’t occur until he turns 84.

The movie Leap Year follows a woman who is frustrated that her boyfriend has yet to propose after four years of dating. Anna decides to take inspiration from the Irish tradition of women proposing to men on Leap Day. The Irish scenery may be more entertaining than the plot but can you pass up the chance to watch the movie on the day it’s named for?

Do you want to know more about why leap day exists in the first place? Find the answer in The Oxford Companion to the Year. The book looks into the history of calendars and the legends associated with each day, season, and month. If you’re not a fan of leap day, what about a leap month or a completely different calendar system? Choose from one of the 18 calendars used in the past and across the world, explained here in detail.

Does thinking about calendars lead to thoughts of how different time is experienced? Find out why a minute can be excruciating long when you’re a bored child but weekends are never long enough as an adult. Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation experiments with time, from declaring which instant is “now” to finding an extra hour in the day to being unable to tell how much time has passed.

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As always, you can spend the day at the library at one of our upcoming events. Enjoy what could be the last leap day ever if two professors can convince the president to change to their new, permanent calendar.

Written by sgrijalva on February 26, 2020