This day comes but once in four years

Feb 29, 2012 By Carolyn B. Tyler, Staff Writer

Today is Leap Year Day -- Feb. 29, which happens only once every four years.

Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days to circle once around the sun.

If we didn't add a day Feb. 29 every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days.

So, we "leap" every four years.

Normally nephew Greg, father of the Becker Bunch, observes his birthday on the last day of the month of February.

Not this year. Because his was not a Leap Year birth, he marked his birthday yesterday, with an extra day remaining in this month.

But there are a lot of folks who do have their birthdates only once every four years.

Yet, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the only verified example of a family producing three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29 is that of the Keogh family.

Peter Anthony was born Feb. 29, 1940, in Ireland, while his son, Peter Eric, was born on the Leap Day in 1964 in the United Kingdom.

And Peter Eric's daughter, Bethany Wealth, was, in turn, born Feb. 29, 1996, in the UK.

A Norwegian family named Henriksen from Andenes holds the official record of number of children born Feb. 29.

Mrs. Karin Henriksen gave birth to three children on consecutive Feb. 29s -- her daughter Heidi in 1960 and her sons Olav and Leif-Martin in 1964 and 1968, respectively.

Some marriages are tied to Leap Year. According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St. Bridget struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men -- and not just the other way around -- every four years.

This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

If you want to take your own leap, enjoy it today -- some people like to think of leap day as a quadrennial gift, a free 24 hours that exists outside our normal routines.

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