February 29: Day of the Week
February 29, 2020 was the 60th day of the year 2020 in the Gregorian calendar. There were 306 days remaining until the end of the year. The day of the week was Saturday.
If you are trying to learn French then this day of the week in French is samedi.
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Here’s the February calendar. You can also browse the full year monthly calendar.
Zodiac & Birthstone
Pisces is the zodiac sign of a person born on this day. Amethyst is the modern birthstone for this month. Bloodstone is the mystical birthstone from Tibetan origin that dates back over a thousand years.
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A person who is born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leap year baby”. In non-leap years, they typically celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1.
February 29: This Day in History
February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year.
Although most years of the modern calendar have 365 days, a complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, during which an extra 24 hours have accumulated, one extra day is added to keep the count coordinated with the sun’s apparent position.
It is, however, slightly inaccurate to calculate an additional 6 hours each year. A better approximation, derived from the Alfonsine tables, is that the Earth takes a complete revolution around the sun in 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds. To compensate for the difference, an end-of-century year is not a leap year unless it is also exactly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600 and 2000 were leap years, as will be 2400 and 2800, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, nor will be 2100, 2200 and 2300.
The Gregorian calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks including 97 leap days. Over this period, February 29 falls 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday; 14 times on a Friday or Saturday; and 15 times on a Monday or Wednesday.
The concepts of the leap year and leap day are distinct from the leap second, which results from changes in the Earth’s rotational speed.
The leap day was introduced as part of the Julian reform. The day following the Terminalia (February 23) was doubled, forming the “bis sextum”—literally ‘double sixth', since February 24 was 'the sixth day before the Kalends of March’using Roman inclusive counting (March 1 was the 'first day'). Although exceptions exist, the first day of the bis sextum (February 24) was usually regarded as the intercalated or “bissextile” day since the third century. February 29 came to be regarded as the leap day when the Roman system of numbering days was replaced by sequential numbering in the late Middle Ages.
An English law of 1256 decreed that in leap years, the leap day and the day before (February 25 & 24) are to be reckoned as one day for the purpose of calculating when a full year had passed. In England and Wales a person born on February 29 legally reaches the age of 18 or 21 on February 28 of the relevant year. In the European Union, February 29 officially became the leap day only in 2000.
In cases of New Zealand citizens, the NZ Parliament has decreed that if a date of birth was February 29, in non-leap years the legal birth date date shall be the preceding day, the 28th. This is affirmed in §2(2) of the Land Transport Act 1999.
In France, there is a humorous periodical called La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper’s Candle) published every February 29 since 1980. The name is a reference to the sapper Camember, a comic strip character born February 29, 1844 who was created by Georges Colomb in the 1890s.
February 29 Historical Event(s)
- 1704Queen Anne’s War: French forces and Native Americans stage a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 villagers and taking more than 100 captive.
- 1712February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style.
- 1916Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old.
- 1932TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William “Alfalfa” Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States.
- 1952The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.
- 1972Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract.
- 1980Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal.
- 1984Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader.
- 1996Faucett Flight 251 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people.
- 2004Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed as President of Haiti following a coup.
Who were born on February 29?
- 1724Eva Marie Veigel, ballet dancer and wife of actor David Garrick (d. 1822)
- 1908Balthus, French-Polish painter (d. 2001)
- 1928Tempest Storm, American burlesque performer
- 1928Terry Lewis, Australian police commissioner
- 1944Dennis Farina, American actor
- 1952Bart Stupak, American congressman
- 1952Raisa Smetanina, Russian cross-country skier
- 1956Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian entertainer
- 1976Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
- 1980Ruben Plaza, Spanish cyclist
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