Today is one of the rare chance to seal down "29 February, 2016" on my blog. Hence, I would be sharing some cool facts about Leap Year.
2016 is a leap year. That means we get a bonus day to catch up on and get our act together... or maybe not.
So Why Do We Have Leap Year?
Every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar, making the length of the year 366 days, instead of the normal 365.
The calendar is supposed to match the solar year, in other words, the length of time it takes for Earth to revolve around the Sun once.
However, things aren't quite that simple. The Earth actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to make one complete revolution around the sun (about 365 1/4 days).
Those extra 6 hours gradually add up so that after four years the calendar is out of step by about one day. Adding a day every four years keeps the calendar in sync to the solar year again. This extra day is called a Leap Day.
Why 29 February?
Why add a day to February? Why not 31 April or 31 June or any other month with 30 days?
You would say, "That's easy. Because February has the least number of days!"
But have you wondered why February has the least number of days?
The early Roman calendar, way before Julius Caesar’s time, began the year with March. It had only ten months, each lasting about 30 days, ending with December.
It is thought that two extra months, January and February, were added sometime around 715-673 BCE. This would have made February the end of the year, which might explain why a leap day was added to that month.
Later it was decided to start the year with January, as that month contained a festival dedicated to Janus, the god of gates (and later, all beginnings).
The picture below would help explain things better!
But... Not every 4th year is a Leap Year
The Julian calendar's formula to calculate leap years produced a leap year every four years. However, the solar year isn’t exactly 365 days. Adding a leap day every four years means that the calendar is still out of step by 11 minutes and 14 seconds each year.
Over the course of 400 years this would add up to three extra days. In order to solve this problem, it was decided to leave out the leap year three times every 400 years.
So, the new rule was, a century year (1600, 1700, 1800, etc.) would only be a leap year if it was evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 will not be.
The year must follow these 3 rules to be a Leap Year:
- The year could be evenly divided by 4
- The year is NOT evenly divided by 100 UNLESS
- The year is also evenly divided by 400
This is also why the year 1900 was NOT a Leap Year but the year 2000 WAS a Leap Year.
Born on a Leap Day?
A person born on Leap Day is known as a "leapling". Some sites mentioned "leaper" too but I wouldn't use that as it reminds me of "leper" and I wouldn't want to call anyone that.
According to astrologers, leaplings were born under the sign of Pisces on February 29. Owing to the unique day on which they arrived into the world, they are more apt to go their own way and exhibit an independent and optimistic spirit.
While they have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, leap year babies typically choose either 28 February or 1 March to celebrate in years that aren't leap years.
Leap Year and Leap Day
Let's learn how to use Leap Year and Leap Day correctly.
Someone born on February 29 was born on Leap Day, or Leap Year Day. They were NOT born on Leap Year. Leap Year is the year we are in like 2012 or 2016.
Anyone can be born IN a Leap Year. Leap Year lasts all year.
But Leap Day Babies were born ON Leap Day.
THAT is what is rare. In fact, the odds are 1 in 1461!
You don't have to be born on February 29 to enjoy Leap Day.
It's everyone's extra day!
Did you do anything special to commemorate Leap Day?
Afternote: I'm looking at the someecards above and thinking it should be "Leap Day" instead of "Leap Year.