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What Is A Leap Day?

Updated on June 30, 2014
Use Leap Day To Do Something New
Use Leap Day To Do Something New | Source

What Is Leap Year?

A leap day is when we get an 'extra' day, the 29th February. There are 365 days in a normal year, whereas a leap year has 366.

Why do we get an extra day?

A year is thought of as 365 days or 52 weeks, when in fact it is slightly over this at 365 days and just under 6 hours. It's hard to plan a calender to include a 6 hour day and I don't think the sun and moon would agree to change their plans either. So every four years we get a bonus day (4years x 6 hours = 24 hours) which many use as a golden opportunity...

Is It A Leap Year?

There is an easy way to know if we are in a leap year or not. Just divide the last two digits of the year we are in, by 4.

This means that the last five leap years were:

  • 2012
  • 2008
  • 2004
  • 2000
  • 1996

And the next leap year will be in 2016.

Leap Day Traditions

Many use a leap day as a chance to shake things up and do the opposite of what is considered the norm.

  • The main tradition (that dates back to 5th century Ireland) for leap days is that women propose to men, when of course this is normally a male role.
  • In 2012, February 29th was also used as the day to gain more awareness for rare diseases with 56 countries taking part in Rare Disease Day.

A leap day should still be considered a day to do something special though, something you wouldn't usually do.

Most of us end up in a routine of some sort. We eat the same foods week in week out, go to the same places, do the same things. This can lead to living an unfulfilled life, breed resentment and even put a strain on relationships.

Of course any day can be used to shake things up a bit, but a leap day is a golden opportunity to make sure you do. Even if it's something small, doing something different can really make you feel alive. If you're not sure what to do, read on...

Do you do anything on a leap day?

See results

What To Do On A Leap Day

If you're not sure what to do differently on a Leap Day, here are a few suggestions...

  • Try New Food: If you don't want to do anything too drastic, why not plan a special meal. Something you wouldn't normally choose, or something you've never tried before. This is a great way to involve those around you as well, which is less scary than trying something alone. If you don't like cooking, try a new restaurant or pick a new dish at your favourite restaurant.
  • Go Somewhere New: Most of us go to the same places, one's we know we like. Explore a bit by going to a new area or attraction. Discover the hidden treasures on your doorstep or go further afield, pick a place on the map and get going.
  • Create Something New: Pick a medium and have a go at creating something you've always wanted to, but never got around to. Or pick something at random and just see what turns up. Have you always wanted to try working with clay or painting? Is there something you could make for your home, which will serve as a constant reminder to try new things? This could be a double whammy as you may have to go somewhere new to collect the materials for your creative experiment!
  • Learn Something New: Is there a skill you've always wanted to learn but never quite found the time for? No more excuses~ Make Leap Time! Of course you will not master the guitar in a day, but this could be the start of a new passion if you go to a guitar store, have a try and chat to the owner...they're normally very friendly and helpful. Talking of which...
  • Meet New People: This could be done in many ways~ especially with the technology we are lucky to have nowadays. Find a local group that interests you, an online forum, a local event and introduce yourself. These new connections could lead to lifelong friendships, business opportunities or even Lurve!

Taking a leap might not always work out to plan but you'll never know until you try...

Make Every Day A Leap Day

The best lesson we can learn from having a leap day, is to not wait another four years to try something new. Use February 29th as a chance to kick-start a fresh, exciting life. Life is over all too quickly to have regrets, which often take the form of missed opportunities.

Follow up on whatever you try, keep the momentum going and make room in your life for things that make you happy, excited, relaxed and creative.

Tell us how you like to shake things up in the comments below!


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    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 6 years ago from Kent, UK

      Hi, thanks for all your lovely comments :D I hope you all had a great leap day and got up to something fun!

      I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Only a little leap for me~ it's a film I wouldn't normally consider watching but really enjoyed it and have since started researching a new business venture to invest in, starting writing a book and trying to make positive changes to my life :D I start chelation this week too *bites nails*

      ~Kaz x

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      I didn't do anything special on that extra day but your message is something that can be done any day! Thanks for the tips, we need to come out of our comfort zone and take a leap now and then, voted up, interesting,


    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 6 years ago

      I am going to take your advice and take a leap - try something new tomorrow. Great hub, thanks. All the best!

    • profile image

      KatrineDalMonte 6 years ago

      Hi Karen, a great hub! An extra day means an extra opportunity, another chance to do something new, something good. Enjoyed reading and voted up :-)

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 6 years ago from Greece

      I like the new approach you are encouraging in your hub. Using February 29th as a stepping stone to trying new things is certainly a new way of looking at a leap year. Although like you have pointed out, maybe it's a good idea to try it more often than every four years!!!

      I thought your hub was fun....