Have you ever wondered why we have a leap year? For a quick answer, I went to the History Channel’s website – www.history.com
Here is what I learned.
- Nearly every four years, we add an extra day to the calendar in the form of February 29, also known as Leap Day.
- These additional 24 hours are built into the calendar to ensure that it stays in line with the Earth’s movement around the Sun.
- While the modern calendar contains 365 days, the actual time it takes for Earth to orbit its star is slightly longer—roughly 365.2421 days. The difference might seem negligible, but over decades and centuries that missing quarter of a day per year can add up.
- To ensure consistency with the true astronomical year, it is necessary to periodically add in an extra day to make up the lost time and get the calendar back in synch with the heavens. Hence, a leap year.
Leap Year Trivia
- About four million living people are estimated to have been born on February 29th, approximately 200,000 are living in the U.S.
- The frog is a symbol associated with Leap Year Day.
- The concept of adding a leap year in the calendar was introduced by the Egyptians. This was mainly because the solar calendar and the man-made calendar did not match.
- In Ireland, women propose to men on Leap Day.
- In Finland, if a man refuses the proposal, he has to buy the woman a gift.
- In Greece, couples do not get married on leap year because they believe it will bring bad luck to their married life.
- The chance of being born on a leap day is often said to be one in 1,461. (Four years is 1,460 days and adding one for the leap year brings your odds to 1/1,461.)