Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year 2016, Leap Day, February 29

Pope Gregory XIII                                                     engraving, 17th century

Every four years it seems we need an extra day to keep our cultural calendar - Gregorian - in line with the astronomical year of the planet. We add that extra day to February because it's the shortest month of the year. We can thank Julius Caesar for introducing the leap year concept and Pope Gregory XIII for tweaking it into something manageable every four years.

So what's happened on past leap years? lists these events:

1. The first arrests in the Salem witch trails took place in 1692;
2. The Panama Canal Commission was formed in 1904;
3. Gone With The Wind won several Oscars at the Academy Awards in 1940;
4. First Playboy Club opened in 1960;
5. Family Circus comic stripp made its debut in 1960;
6. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was named Album of the Year in 1968;
7. Gordie Howe made is 800th goal in 1980;
8. Davey Jones (The Monkees) died in 2012.

[ is an interesting site. Pay them a visit here.]

So who do - should - we know who was born in February 29? Wikipedia provides some answers:

1. Gioachino Rosinni, the Italian composer and pianist, in 1792;
2. William A. Wellman, American film director (A Star is Born), in 1896
2. Jimmy Dorsey, American saxophonist, band leader and composer, in 1904;
3. Dee Brown, American author and historian, in 1908;
4. Dinah Shore, American entertainer, in 1916;
5. Tempest Storm, American burlesque entertainer (still at it), in 1928.

For an entertaining article on what it means to have a birthday on February 29, go here.


Photos and Illustrations:
Pope Gregory, E, Helsius, 17th century engraver, Smithsonian Institution Libraries collection


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