Hold On To Your Seats, It’s Leap Day!

Holy hopping hairless hippos!  It’s Leap Day!

OK, perhaps I am being a touch dramatic.  But I am born on a leap year, so growing up, I always had friends that only had a birthday every four years.  Now THEY thought they were special.  Sorry guys and gals, that really doesn’t make you special.

Other than the fact we add an extra day to the calendar and make the year 366 days long instead of 365, what makes Leap Day so special?

Well, one year is actually 365.242 days long, so every four years we tack an extra day on the calendar to “catch up.”  However, there is an exception to the leap year rule involving centuries.  Since the year is just under 365.25 days long, adding one day every four years results in about 3 extra days being added over 400 years.  To compensate, century years are only considered as leap years if they are evenly divisible by 400 (therefore 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, and 2100 will not be a leap year.

Julius Caesar is the “Father” of the Leap Year, originating in 45 B.C.   The early Romans had a 355 day calendar and to keep festivals occurring at the same season each year, a 22 or 23 day month was created every 2nd year.  To simplify matters, Caesar decided to create a 365 day calendar, with the inclusion of a 29th day every fourth year in Februarius, thus creating a leap year.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII further refined the calender with the rule that leap day would occur in any year divisible by 4.

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