Famous people born on February 29 include*:
- 1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
- 1792 – Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (William Tell, The Barber of Seville) (d. 1868)
- 1896 – Morarji Desai, former Indian prime minister (d. 1995)
- 1916 – Dinah Shore, American singer (d. 1994)
- 1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
- 1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, former president of El Salvador
- 1960 – Richard Ramirez, American serial killer
- 1960 – Anthony (Tony) Robbins, American motivational speaker
- 1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player
- 1972 – Antonio Sabàto Jr, Italian-born actor
- 1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
- 1980 – Chris Conley, American musician and songwriter/composer
Events that took place on February 29 in history include*:
- 1692 – First accusations began during the Salem witch trials. The trials occurred in Massachusetts in the United States, where more than 150 people were arrested and at least 25 people died by hanging, torture or during their prison stay.
- 1848 – Neufchatel declares the independence of Switzerland.
- 1940 – Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actress to win an Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind. The movie won eight Oscars.
- 1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began as United States General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer". Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in the Pacific. This event was one of the highlights of World War II.
- 1952 – The first “Walk/Don't Walk” signs were installed in New York City.
- 1964 – Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser received her 36th world record. She was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia. She was the first female swimmer to win gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games (1956, 1960 and 1964).
- 1972 – The Carpenters received a gold record for the hit single Hurting Each Other. The Carpenters were a vocal and instrumental duo of siblings, Karen and Richard, who produced a softer style of music in an era when loud rock was in demand. They were one of the best-selling music artists in the 1970s.
Here are some myths and folklore for February 29:
Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage. In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn't look down on such women. However, that hasn't always been the case. When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th. It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.
CALLING ALL SINGLE LADIES, THIS IS YOUR YEAR TO PROPOSE!
There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.