Leap Year!

SadieHawkinsI realized just now that it is February 29. This only happens at most once every 4 years. It is an adjustment to the calendar so that the seasons and the dates associated with them remain in sync. Now that we can measure time so accurately there are other adjustments that we make as well. But I’ll get back to that a bit later in this blog.

I do not recall when I first noticed leap year. I was not born in a leap year. Thus I could not have been born on February 29!  No doubt though that around 1960 it had come to my notice. I had learned to read and write and often went to the library to borrow more books to quench my thirst for knowledge. It would have been then that it was mentioned by some friend or teacher that those who were born on this day could truly celebrate their birthday but once in four years. They are often referred to as a Leapling (or Leaper).

I extracted the following from Kimberly Donnelly on the internet:

Many moons (and years) ago, someone had to do something in order to keep the seasons from drifting into different months…So, in 45 BC, Caesar decided to add a day at the end of February (back then, it was the last day of the year) every four years…At 365.25 days, now the calendar year was too long, and the seasons would eventually drift the other way, falling one day later every 128 years…In 1582, Pope Gregory…decided to do something about it…He changed the end of the calendar year to Dec. 31, he left 10 days out of October, and he added the “no leap year on a year divisible by 100 unless it’s also divisible by 400” part of the rule…The Gregorian calendar…is what we still use today in order to keep the seasons where they are supposed to be…But it’s not perfect. Even with the complicated leap year rules, there will still be a drift in the calendar year of one day every 3,300 years.

There are some amusing facts about leap year here. It talks about Sadie Hawkins day and what a lady could do and remain a lady on this day and no other. Another site reminds us that the Declaration of Independence was signed in a leap year, 1776. In our quest for ever more accuracy and keeping in sync with the earth the leap second was invented.

So if we had kept to a strict calendar, today’s date would have been June 25. But it sure doesn’t look like summer! In fact it is rather chilly as I write this with my realization that the next time I can do another blog on this date is next leap year!

One thought on “Leap Year!

  1. I have a cousin who was born on Feb 29 – she was always a bit sad that she had to wait for 4 years for a “real” birthday.

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