Leap Day is a date that should be more significant. Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day; those happen every year. But Leap Day? You have to wait four years for one. Which means that you’ll need to party four times as hard. Luckily, we’ve drawn up a detailed timetable in order for you to maximise your celebration …

06:00 – Time to wake up

Your alarm today is I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance) by Tina Charles, which Radio 1 named as the No 1 single on 29 February 1976. The only other song ever to reach No 1 on a Leap Day is a rerelease of Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre, and frankly you’re better than that.

07:00 – Ja Rule celebration hour

One of very few contemporary recording artists to have a birthday on 29 February, Ja Rule is literally the man of the hour. Listen to his hit Always on Time! Watch the trailer to his 2002 action film Half Past Dead! Get involved in a fraudulent, influencer-baiting music festival! He deserves this!

10:00 – Propose!

Remember: if you are a woman, it is tradition to propose to your boyfriend today, and only today. If you don’t have a boyfriend, propose to anyone. If you’re not a woman, then make a woman propose to you. Tradition dictates it!

11:00 – Listen to a song called Leap Day

I’ve checked Spotify, and some exist. One, by Terry v Tori, is all indie and jangly. One, by the Mystic Cowboys, is acoustic and depressing. One, by Cam Buma Project, is smooth jazz. One, by Jack Thought, sounds as if it came from a garden centre’s ambient CD collection. They’re all terrible, so go nuts.

12:00 – Hattie McDaniel celebration hour

Hattie McDaniel



Hat’s off… Hattie McDaniel. Photograph: John Kobal Foundation/Getty

It isn’t her birthday, but she did become, on 29 February 1940, the first African American actor to win an Oscar. Why not watch Gone With the Wind and then stand around doing nothing for 51 years until Whoopi Goldberg becomes the second African American woman to win an acting Oscar?

14:00 – Movie time

Only a handful of movies are set on 29 February, so you have a choice. Romantic comedy fans can watch the Amy Adams romcom Leap Year. Horror fans, you can watch the South Korean haunted-tollbooth film February 29. All other people, you’re out of luck.

16:00 – La Bougie du Sapeur

If today is 29 February, that means it must be time to rush out and buy the new issue of La Bougie du Sapeur (The Soldier’s Candle), the French satirical newspaper that only publishes once every four years. This is only its 11th issue, so well done for being such an early adopter.

18:00 – Lie about an event of supreme historical importance

Just three Leap Days ago, Misha Defonseca finally admitted that her 1997 memoir Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years – in which she claimed to have spent the duration of the Holocaust living with wolves in the forest – was all made up. Commemorate this betrayal of trust by making up some rubbish about where you were during a time of international crisis. Maybe you were a passenger on the Titanic. Maybe Pearl Harbor interrupted your lunch. It’s your choice entirely!

20:00 – 30 Rock

Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell as Leap Day William.



One giant leap… Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell as Leap Day William. Photograph: NBC/NBCU/NBC Universal/Getty

The most celebrated Leap Day reference in all of pop culture, in which Tina Fey created an entire tradition around 29 February, then made a Jim Carrey movie about it, then fed it into a sitcom episode. It tells the story of Leap Day William, who emerges every four years from the Mariana Trench to trade children’s tears for candy. It is perfect.

22:00 – Move out

Don’t forget, today is the birthday of U-Haul founder Leonard Shoen. As such, you are required to pack all your worldly goods into a trailer and leave your house for ever. Tradition dictates it!

23:00 – Propose!

Don’t forget, time is running out. If you’re a woman and you haven’t proposed within the hour, you’ll remain sad and unmarried until at least 2024, by which time nuclear war might have killed most of the male population. Quickly! It’s your last chance!

00:00 – Relax

Congratulations: you have successfully made it through yet another Leap Day. Now, make sure you get some rest, because tomorrow is 30 February.



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