Fun facts about Leap Day/Year

Karla Arnold, circulation supervisor at the London Public Library is informing patrons that late fees will be waived from their accounts on Leap Day if they stop in and say, “Please, leap over my late fees.”

Leaping over Late Fees

It happens only once every four years, but the London Public Library is making the most of Friday, Feb. 29, commonly known as Leap Day. The “Leap Year,” day which is part of a balancing act to keep our typical calendar year synchronized with the astronomical and seasonal year, will also be recognized as an Amnesty Day at the library.

The library will waive all overdue fines from a patron’s account if they visit the library on Feb. 29 and say, “Please, leap over my late fees.”

“We thought this would be a great way to celebrate Leap Day with our patrons,” says Karla Arnold, circulation supervisor.

The library is located at 20 E. First Street in London and online at

Interesting Facts about Leap Day/Year:

• Today, Leap Year is part of many cultural and scientific calendars. The Gregorian calendar, which most countries use today, places the Leap Year every four years because the actual solar year is about 365.25 days.

But that’s not the definitive calculation because the actual solar year is slightly less than 365.25 days, about 11 minutes short. Therefore, any year that is evenly divisible by four is a Leap Year, while any year divisible by 100 is not. However, if the year is divisible by 100 and divisible by 400 as well, then it is a Leap Year. Sound confusing? It can be, but having a Leap Year does keep things in check.

• Leap Day/Year has also become synonymous with marriage proposals. Based on an Irish tradition dating back to the 5th century, legend has it that St. Bridget of Ireland beseeched St. Patrick to allow women to propose marriage to men to shorten the waiting period to be wed. St. Patrick conceded, allowing women to propose to men only on one day during the Leap Year, which ended up being Feb. 29.

• The Scottish took it one step farther and passed a law in 1288 that allowed women to propose to men during the full 12 months of a Leap Year. The law also stated that if a man refused a proposal he had to pay a fine, which could be as small as a kiss or as large as a monetary gift.

• Individual odds of being born on Leap Day are 1 in 1,500. There are roughly 187,000 U.S. individuals born on Leap Day and four million world-wide. Do you know someone born on Feb. 29?

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