small business leap day

Everything You Need to Know About Leap Day

Leap Day is an oddity, and not just from your regular oh-yeah-that-day-that-comes-once-every-four-years type of way. Leap Day actually has a pretty interesting history, and it’s also become a unique marketing opportunity for businesses, which we’ll get to in a moment.

So what exactly is the deal with Leap Day? Here’s a quick rundown:

Why do we have leap days?

Basically, it all has to do with a tiny gap between our solar system and our calendar aka the Gregorian Calendar. Because it takes earth a little more than 365 days to orbit around the sun (365.2422 days to be exact), we need to add an extra day every four years so everything remains in sync. Earth takes 365 days and about a quarter to orbit the sun, so every 4 years these quarters add up to one day. #Mindblown.

Why is Leap Day In February?

It all has to do with the egos of Roman emperors. Basically, when Julius Caesar was ruling the Roman Empire, the month of July—named after Caesar—had 31 days, February had 30 and August had 29. When Caesar Augustus succeeded Caesar as emperor, he took two days from February and added them his own month—August—so to be on the same level as July. If you’re telling me the biggest concern in the Roman Empire was how many days your month had, sign me up.

OK, we lied. It technically isn’t even every four years

This is kind of confusing, but bear with us: The year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not. Why? Because a leap year needs to be divisible by four…unless the year is also divisible by 100 and NOT divisible by 400.

This is rule only applies to centuries because astronomers thought that just adding a day every four years would’ve corrected the calendar too much.

We’ll let Neil DeGrasse Tyson break it down:

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Famous Leap Day business campaigns

In 2012, both Honda and Disneyland had some fun with Leap Day and encouraged customers to celebrate the day by offering them something exclusive.

Honda’s creative idea involved a contest in which customers were invited to create a “Leap List” which was a personal checklist of everything they want to do before everything they have to do. Once the created the list, they could enter a contest to win a new Honda CR-V.

On the other side of the spectrum, both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom were open for 24 hours with special promotions and deals for all those who visited during those hours.

See? Marketing your business can be easy with the right amount of creativity and preparation. For more small business news and resources, be sure to visit our blog to keep up with Capify!