Close this search box.

Leap Day History: Remarkable Events That Occurred on the 29th of February

Known as the rarest day on the calendar, the Leap Day is an additional day added to the end of February every four years to catch up with the solar cycle. However, just because they don’t occur frequently doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of memorable events. This article highlights some of the most notable events that happened on a leap day.

The First Leap Day: An unavoidable

In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar came across an issue while trying to develop a 365-day calendar; the calendar would be slightly shorter than the solar year. If the ‘slight’ difference were overlooked, it would make the passage of time and the arrival of seasons confusing.

Courtesy: Britannica

Caesar and astronomer Sosigenes decided to add an extra day to the calendar every four years. However, their calculations weren’t accurate; the calendar was speeding ahead instead of catching up. This continued until the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582.

The beginning of the Salem Witch Trials

You’ve probably watched movies where people were tried for witchcraft. Well, one such trial happened on Leap Day in 1692 when three women were accused of witchcraft. That was the beginning of the famous Salem Witch Trials.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

The three women were Sarah Osborne, Tituba, and Sarah Good. Tituba, who was a slave, was eventually released from prison after admitting to the allegations. Sarah Good was hanged for refusing to confess, and Sarah Osborne died in prison one year later.

The Pavlov Institute was reborn

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist and psychologist who is known for his conditioning theory of learning. He was one of the pioneers of the claim that people can learn through learned reflexes.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

He got a Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine for his digestion research in 1904. On Leap Day in 1936, The Soviet Union renamed the First Leningrad Medical Institute ‘The Pavlov Institute’ two days after his death.

The first royal baby was born

Leapers, people born on a leap day, are rare since their real birthdays only occur once in four years. Did you know there is a royal leaper?

Courtesy: Tatler

On the 29th of February 1964, Princess Alexandra of Kent gave birth to a baby boy, James Ogilvy. The baby is believed to be the first royal baby on Leap Day.

The record-breaking ‘leap family’

While being born on Leap Day is special, the chances of a leaper giving birth to a leaper are even more unheard of. This Guinness World Records verified family is more than unique.

Courtesy: The New York Post

The family produced three consecutive generations on Leap Day! In 1940, Peter Anthony Keogh was born on Leap Day, and his son, Peter Eric, was born on Leap Day in the UK in 1964. Then, his granddaughter, Bethany, was born on Leap Day in the U.K. in 1996.

Sign up for Best History Class Newsletter

Related Posts