How Will You Use Your Leap Day? 29 Ideas to Shake Things Up This February 29

2024 is a very special year. We have a whole extra day in February to do, see, and eat all the vegan things because it’s a leap year. Here are 29 ways to celebrate in vegan style. (Also, a very happy birthday to those who have missed out for the last three years—go get yourself some vegan cake! It’s been far too long.)

Jump to the IDEAS

Why do we have leap years?

Every four years, an extra day is added to February to keep the calendar year synchronized with the solar year, which is the time it takes for the Earth to complete its orbit around the sun. This extra day compensates for the fact that the Earth’s orbit around the sun is actually approximately 365.25 days, not a neat 365. Without regular leap years, over time, our calendar would gradually fall out of sync with the seasons.

This extra day is special for many. Around the world, about five million people are “Leaplings” (aka people who were born on February 29, and only get to celebrate their real birth date every four years). Some women may also choose to propose on Leap Day, due to an Irish legend that originated around the 5th century. 

According to the legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait too long for men to propose marriage. In response, St. Patrick supposedly decreed that on Leap Day, women were allowed to propose to men. Of course, in 2024, this legend is outdated, but some still choose to embrace it as a fun and unconventional way to celebrate the leap year.

But aside from getting engaged, there are many (slightly less life-changing) ways to celebrate the leap year. Below, we’ve listed 29 fun activities that you can do to honor this special day. 

29 vegan ways to celebrate the Leap Year

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1 Try a new vegan restaurant

New vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants are establishing themselves across the nation, and not just in major cities. While it’s difficult to break from your tried-and-true spots, give another business a chance. Extra vegan brownie points if you discover a fantastic vegan menu at a non-vegan restaurant. Check out some of our favorite vegan restaurants in the US here.

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2 Actually cook from your vegan cookbooks

If you’re anything like us, the larger the cookbook collection, the less you find yourself cooking from them. With such a vast array of recipes, where do you even begin? Starting today, pick a book, and commit to a recipe. For more of a challenge, commit to an entire chapter of a cookbook and work your way through it over a set period of time (a month typically works). We can guarantee you’ll rediscover a passion for cooking—and enjoy restaurant-quality meals along the way.  And if you want to try a new cookbook, you can find 100 of the top vegan cookbooks of all time here.

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3 Tag a vegan blogger after making their recipe

We all have our go-to recipe blogs, but how often do we acknowledge the blogger? The next time you make that foolproof vegan chili or essential lentil loaf, share it on your socials and tag the blogger to say thank you. 

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4 Order a vegan cake by mail

There’s something wonderfully self-indulgent and luxurious about ordering a cake for yourself. While we wouldn’t recommend this as a regular habit—your wallet won’t thank you—we also believe that you don’t need a special occasion for cake. Check out these nine vegan cakes that ship nationwide. 

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5 Stock up on vegan Girl Scout cookies

From Peanut Butter Patties to Thin Mints, six Girl Scout cookie flavors are vegan-approved! Track down your local scout and help them reach their sales goals—these delights freeze well, so buy in bulk.

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6 Treat yourself to a vegan leather accessory

Vegan leather is not the plastic-y material it once was—from Piñatex to apple leather to other superbly made synthetic materials, we’re proud to flaunt our vegan leather jackets, handbags, belts, shoes, and wallets. Refresh your wardrobe with a new vegan leather fashion statement. Find out more about vegan leather here.

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7 Host a vegan potluck

Potlucks are the perfect way to bring people together from across your social networks because everyone can bond over food—whether they’re vegan or otherwise. If you’re inviting omnivores, help them out by suggesting a few easy recipes or store-bought items they can bring—such as bulk items from the Whole Foods hot bar or frozen apps from Trader Joe’s. 

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8 Try every menu item at your favorite vegan restaurant

If your local vegan spot can recite your order—along with the email linked to your loyalty account—it’s time to try something new. Spend the day (and beyond) exploring the menu by capitalizing on the restaurant’s specials or ordering standard items you’ve simply overlooked. 

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9 Ask a local restaurant to provide vegan options

For the restaurant that only offers French fries or a sad iceberg salad for their vegan patrons, it’s time to give them a little nudge toward the future. The next time your friends drag you there, politely pull the manager aside as you leave and let them know how appreciative you—and likely many other customers—would be if they put a few more plant-based options on the menu. If confrontation makes you squirm, a simple email will suffice.  

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10 Donate to a vegan nonprofit

You can like and comment on all of the adorable pig photos posted by your favorite vegan nonprofit, but a bit of cash can truly help them make a difference. No need to break out the checkbook—the amount you pay for a medium up-charged oat milk latte will do. Find 10 vegan nonprofits working to make the world kinder here.

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11 Volunteer for a vegan nonprofit

Charities such as Chilis on Wheels have chapters across the US and help provide hot vegan meals for those who need them most. Find your local group and offer your time filling and distributing burritos to the hungry. Animal sanctuaries and coastal cleanups need help, too. If you’re able to put in some manual labor, your efforts will surely be appreciated.

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12 Launch a vegan cookbook club

The concept is simple—rally a group of friends, pick a cookbook, set a regular meeting time, and assign one person to make a different dish from the book for each gathering. You’ll get to taste a variety of recipes without making them all yourself. Be sure to bookmark your favorites.

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13 Read Diet for a New America

Ask someone who has been vegan for over 20 years, and the vast majority of them will point to this seminal work as their inspiration to make the switch. Penned by John Robbins—the Baskin Robbins heir who walked away from the silver ice cream scoop to pursue a plant-based lifestyle—the book outlines the ethical, environmental, and health implications of an animal-based diet. Think of it as the vegan bible. 

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14 Buy a stranger a vegan latte

Random acts of kindness are nearly always well received.  So, along with holding doors open for others and smiling politely at people on the street instead of pretending they don’t exist, offer to buy a plant-based beverage for the person behind you at the coffee shop.

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15 Pop a bottle of vegan wine

February 18 was National Wine Day, but if you missed it, February 29 is the perfect time to celebrate. Sure, it’s just another one of those made-up food holidays, but if it gives us an incentive to open a bottle of vegan wine, cheers!

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16 Watch a vegan documentary

If you still haven’t seen The Game Changers, Seaspiracy, What the Health, Forks Over Knives, or Cowspiracy, it’s about time. Use the extra day this month to squeeze in a 90-minute documentary. Invite a non-vegan friend or family member to view it with you and watch their perspective change before your eyes. For even more vegan documentaries to watch, check out our guide here.

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17 Subscribe to a vegan magazine

A bit of shameless self-promotion here, but nothing can compete with kicking back and flipping through a print magazine when you need to relax. If you’re already a VegNews subscriber, pop the bubbly, run a bath, and grab your favorite issues for the ultimate night in.

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18 Visit your local vegan pop-up

In many metropolitan areas—and suburbs as well—vegan pop-ups have become a part of the culinary community. Get out and support your local small business vendors at your nearest pop-up, food truck, or farmers’ market.

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19 Treat yourself to a vegan event

There are vegan pop-ups, and then there are ticketed full-blown events. You’ve told yourself every year that you’ll buy a ticket, but in the end, just can’t justify it. It’s a Leap Year, which means this year is special. Buy the ticket and go have fun!

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20 Adopt or foster

Give a furry friend a permanent home and some much-needed love. Visit your local animal shelter or look into the BeFeegle Foundation—a rescue that rehabilitates and finds loving homes for “retired” research beagles. Not ready to commit to a new family member? Consider fostering. Rescues are constantly in need of temporary homes for yet-to-be-adopted animals, and it allows you to do some good without the life-long commitment. 
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21 Get a vegan tattoo

If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, now is the time to get that V stamp, or perhaps a pretty homage to wildlife or nature. Of course, you can always go the henna route.

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22 Bake vegan goodies for the office

The fastest way to turn someone vegan is through their stomachs. Bake up a batch of your favorite vegan brownies and share with your co-workers. They don’t need to know you have ulterior motives to convert them all—they’ll just be excited for the sweet treat. 

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23 Participate in a vegan meetup (or online community)

Vegan meals are better shared. Search Meetup.com for local vegan groups in your area. If your search is coming up short, turn to Facebook for the plethora of online plant-based communities from whole food plant-based athlete groups to virtual vegan cookbook clubs. 

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24 Make your own seitan or tofu

Think of this as a vegan rite of passage. For those who can tolerate gluten, seitan is a staple in vegan cuisine—it’s high in protein, mimics that crave-worthy meaty texture, and takes on the flavor of whatever spices or marinade strike your fancy. For the tofu route, the process is a bit more involved but well worth the effort. A word of caution—store-bought will never be the same.

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25 Enjoy a relaxing at-home spa day

We love any excuse to treat ourselves, and we reckon Leap Day is the perfect time for a bit of self-care. Follow our guide to creating a vegan home spa oasis, and order candles, foot scrubs, and your favorite loose-leaf tea, so you’re ready for a day filled with pure relaxation.

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26 Perfect the ultimate cookie recipe

Most of us have made cookies at some point in our lives, but if you’ve got a bit of spare time this February 29, it’s a great opportunity to upgrade your recipe. Check out our nine tips for taking your chocolate chip cookies to the next level—your taste buds will love it.

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Kristy Turner

27 Make an elaborate brunch

We’ve got to admit, brunch is the best meal of the week. It’s usually enjoyed on the weekend, but we think February 29 is the perfect excuse to bring it forward a few days. Find 25 delicious brunch recipes here for inspiration—the mouthwatering list includes everything from maple peanut butter pancakes to tofu breakfast tacos.

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28 Plan a vegan vacation

The only thing that beats actually taking the vacation has to be the planning process. Okay, maybe not the administrative work of booking flights and hotels and working out logistics, but more the ideas part. Sit down with a cup of coffee and a vegan snack, and work your way through our travel guides to find your next destination. Good luck deciding!

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29 Upgrade your closet

Online shopping is always fun, and we won’t hear otherwise. If you think your wardrobe needs an upgrade, use the extra day this year to spend a little bit of time on Depop or Vinted searching for great secondhand, sustainable finds. Alternatively, you could spend the day checking out new vegan fashion brands. You can find plenty of our guides to vegan shoes, coats, activewear, swimwear, and more, here.

For more on vegan holidays, read: