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February 29 is the 60th day of a leap year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 306 days remaining. A year which has a February 29 is, by definition, a leap year. This date only occurs approximately every four years, in years evenly divisible by 4, such as 1992, 1996, or 2004, with some exceptions in century years.
A century year, that is, a year which ends in two zeroes 1800, 1900, 2000, etc., is not a leap year unless it is also evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year and 2400 will also be one, but 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, and the years 2100, 2200, and 2300 will not be leap years either.
Those who are born on this day usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 during non-leap years. In the comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance, Frederic, born on February 29, was apprenticed to a band of pirates until his 21st birthday, in theory until he is 84 years old.
This day may be colloquially termed a leap day, though in the Roman calendar it was February 24 in a leap year which was added, giving the name of "bissextile" day or extra sixth day in the lead up to the 'Calends' of March. In the European Union, February 29 only officially became the leap day in 2000.
There is a tradition that women may make a proposal of marriage to men only on February 29; this is a tightening of an older tradition that such proposals may only occur on leap years. The man may of course refuse but, by tradition, he should soften the blow by providing a kiss and a silk gown. In Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner, this was called "Sadie Hawkins Day", though the tradition is much older.
Holidays and observances