As the poem goes, 30 days hath September, April, June and November; All the rest have 31.
Except of course for February, which normally has 28, but then, every four years, boasts one day more.
Such is the case this year.
And since it's a relatively rare occasion that we can write about leap years, we'll gladly take the opportunity to do so here.
Let's begin at the beginning.
Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years allows for the fact that while our calendar year is set at 365 days, the actual time it takes the earth to rotate the sun is about 365 days and 6 hours.
While the ancient Egyptians are credited with first aligning their calendar to the true solar year, it wasn't until Julius Caesar tacked on an extra day in the Julian Calendar some 2,000 years ago that Western civilization began observing the need for leap years.
However, even then, there was need for refinement. That would come with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar roughly 1,500 years later.
It's that calendar that we still use today, and upon which many leap year traditions have evolved.
Among them: an old Irish tradition which encourages women to propose to men. As one legend goes, the practice can be traced back to a deal that was struck between St Bridget and St Patrick as a means to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
While there's no why to be sure how the tradition originated, it has served to inspire modern-day Sadie Hawkins dances, movie adaptations, and
But Leap Day isn't always recognized as a day of whimsy.
In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day. And in Greece, some hold that it's unlucky for couples to marry on Leap Day.
Those born on Feb. 29, however, have reason for optimism. Aside from celebrating 75 percent less "birthdays" over the course of their lives, Leapers as they're known, are often said to be blessed with unusual talents.
Among those born on Feb. 29: Pope Paul III (b. 1498), Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini, whose credits include the Barber of Seville, and American songstress Dinah Shore, who was born on Leap Day in 1914. Other notables include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and Big Band leader Jimmy Dorsey.
If that's not enough, there have also been some notable events that have taken place on Feb. 29 over the years.
In 1504, Christopher Columbus used his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies. On the same day more than 450 years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the occasion to announce his reelection campaign. Four years later, in 1960, the long-running Family Circus cartoon debuted, and in 1980, Hartford Whalers star Gordie Howe made NHL history by scoring his 800th goal. And, more recently, in 1988, South African archbishop Desmond Tutu was arrested along with 100 clergymen during an anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town.
All this goes to show is that there are plenty of reasons to make the most of the day - even though it comes around only once every four years.