About every four years, we have a Leap Year. Instead of the usual 365-day year, we get 366 days by adding an extra day to our shortest month.
The Gregorian Calendar needs Leap Years to round out the calculation for the time it takes the Earth to complete a revolution of the Sun.
It takes just a little bit longer than 365 days for a complete revolution.
In fact, it takes 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.
Without a Leap Year, that six-hour addition would add up over time and throw everything off.
Three rules apply in order to have a Leap Year.
- The year can be divided evenly by 4.
- However, if it can be divided by 100, then it’s not a Leap Year, unless . . .
- It can also be divided evenly by 400.
So, 2000 was a Leap Year, but 1900 was not.
Leaplings are people born on Leap Day.
They still celebrate a yearly birthday on either February 28 or March 1. Their choice. They may run into issues for when they reach the Age of Majority depending on the country they live in. Some countries call the “official” day the 28th of February, others choose the 1st of March.
One of the most interesting traditions surrounding Leap Year comes from Ireland where legend tells us that St. Brigid and St. Patrick decided it would be okay for women to propose to men on Leap Day, rather than having to wait for the man to do the proposing.
This is the premise for one of my favourite movies, Leap Year, starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.
If you haven’t seen it, I hope you do.
And Happy Leap Day to you!
Movie poster from imdb.com
Calendar from bigstockphoto.com # 91053725