Leap Year Facts To Keep You Motivated This Monday

29/02/2016 7:17 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Proposal of a woman asking marry to a man in the middle of a street

Let's all take a moment to wish Ja Rule a very happy birthday. The rapper, (fun fact: real name, Jeffrey Atkins) is turning the big 4-0 on Monday, and let's hope he's having a banging party, because his next opportunity won't roll around until 2020.

That's right, Ja Rule is a "leapling" or a "leaper" -- in other words, he was born on February 29 during a leap year (in his case, 1976).

Want to know some more fun facts about leap years? You're in luck. In honour of Ja Rules 40th this Monday, 29th February, The Huffington Post Australia has compiled some fun leap year facts to help you get through your working day. Starting off with:

What is a leap year, anyway?

A leap year is a year containing one extra day. For us Aussies, it can be a bonus (an extra day of summer!) or a bummer (an extra day of FebFast) depending on who you're asking.

Cropping up once every four years, a leap year occurs because the earth's orbit around the sun actually takes a smidge longer than 365 days (about 365 days and a quarter, if you're wondering) and if we just let this happen without doing anything about it, it would mean our calendar would eventually be all out of whack.

So way back in 45BC, Julius Caesar's astronomer Sosigenes suggested we have a 366-day year once every four years to even things out.

This "extra day" has since been a source of numerous superstitions and traditions, some of which we'll go into in this article. Such as...

February 29 is 'the' day for women to propose to men

Right. Because when Pink did it over ten years ago, the world was outraged she didn't wait for the correct date.

Regardless, the tradition of women proposing on leap day goes way back. Depending on who you ask, it either came about in the 5th century as a result of St Bridget complaining to St Patrick women had to wait too long for men to propose, with St Patrick fixing the issue by declaring women could propose on a leap day. (Gee, thanks, Pat.)

The alternative explanation goes back to 1288, when Queen Margaret supposedly decided women could propose to men on a leap day if they so wished.

And if the suitor said no?

You may not get a husband, but at least you'll get some threads.

Well, in Denmark at least, where it is said a man refusing a woman’s leap day proposal must give her 12 pairs of gloves.

In Finland, it’s fabric for a skirt. (Score!)

But in Greece...

Forget about it. One in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid a leap year wedding at all costs, believing it's bad luck for the marriage.

For those on an annual salary or serving a prison sentence, a leap year is not your friend

As if Mondays weren't already hard enough, if you are on an annual salary, a leap day means you essentially work for free.

Same goes if you are sentenced to a year in jail. Unfortunately for you, if this sentence lands in a leap year, you'll have to serve the extra day.

At least in 2016, we have the Oscars to watch? Otherwise, yeah, it's a pretty raw deal.

vintage playboy bunny

29 February, 1960: A Very Bunny Anniversary

Hugh Hefner opened the doors to the first Playboy Bunny club on a leap day, "to long lines despite the bitter cold", according to Vanity Fair.

"Within a year, the club was said to be doing a higher volume in food and drink sales than any other restaurant or nightspot in town. Franchises in Miami and New Orleans were quickly brokered. After the $4 million New York club opened in December 1962, to equally long lines in almost as bitter cold."

Does this mean the Bunny Club is turning 56 this year?

Oof, we're old.

Why not do something good this leap day?

Finally, if you're not into Ja Rule, or Playboy Bunnies, or proposals, you can always use this day to make a donation to Rare Disease Day Australia.

February 29th 2016 marks the ninth annual World Rare Disease Day and the seventh year Australia has been involved.

Just as the name suggests, World Rare Disease Day aims to bring attention to the daily lives of patients, families and caregivers who are living with a rare disease.

As highlighted on their website, "with more than 8000 known rare diseases affecting more than two million Australians, of which up to 400,000 are children", it's a cause worth checking out, even if only once every four years, on a day you work for free.

Visit HuffPost Australia's profile on Pinterest.

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