Skip to main content

What is Leap Day?


In honor of Leap Day, February 29, Disneyland has added new foods for their special event, “One More Disney Day.” The park will remain open for all 24 hours of Leap Day, savoring every extra minute that Leap Year has granted us. French market restaurant has tweaked their menus for the times between 11 a.m. to midnight and midnight to 3:30 a.m. Café Orleans is reviving their retired breakfast menu from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to satisfy patrons’ midnight munchies. Other restaurants in the area will be offering special dishes for the day, and some select Downtown Disney locations will be opening up extra early to serve coffee and breakfast to tourists in the early morning.

The purpose of Leap Day is to keep our modern Gregorian calendar aligned with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. Although we have 365 days in a year, it takes 365.242199 days for the Earth to travel around the sun—a tropical year. Without Leap Day, we would lose 6 hours a year, which is 24 days in 100 years! Therefore, Julius Caesar introduced the concept of a leap year over 2000 years ago in the Roman Empire. Originally, every 4 years, another day was added. However, this was corrected 1500 years later: now, a year will be a Leap Year if it is divisible by 4; if it is divisible by 100, it must also be divisible by 400. For example, the year 100 was not a Leap Year, but the year 400 was.

All of this hullabaloo from Disney for Leap Day seemed strange to me, just to mark an extra day. I don’t think the teachers in my university will be cancelling any classes or bringing us the spicy chipotle chile turkey burgers that Tomorrowland Terrace will be offering at Disneyland. However, one pattern I noticed in browsing the web about Leap Day is that it is customary on this day to do something out of the ordinary—to take a leap.

The NBC comedy 30 Rock just had an episode entitled “Leap Day,” in which Leap Day is a celebrated holiday. People wear blue and yellow, towns hold parades, there is a mythical man named “Leap Day Williams” who turns babies’ tears into candy, and there is a movie celebrating the holiday with Jim Carey and Andie MacDowell. The movie within the show promotes the idea that one needs to take chances on Leap Day, because it is the only day of the year on which one’s actions don’t count.

Aside from eating cookies decorated as frogs and wearing pink in honor of Sharsheret Pink Day (to spread awareness about breast cancer), this Leap Day I will try something new and take a risk. Maybe it will be to try a new dance class. Maybe I’ll actually try running in Riverside Park like I always say I will.

What will you try this Leap Day?