February Leap Year! Know Everything About The Extra Day Of The Month | Kidadl


February Leap Year! Know Everything About The Extra Day Of The Month

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A leap year occurs once every four years and there are 366 days in a year.

The extra day is known as the leap day, February 29. Every year, the month of February has 28 days, but in a leap year every four years, this month has 29 days.

No other month is affected by a leap year and the number of days remain the same. One revolution by Earth around the Sun has an approximate period of 365.25 days which is a little more than the round figure number in the Gregorian calendar. The calendar does not perfectly line with the solar year because it does not account for the extra quarter-day that the Earth needs to complete its orbit around the Sun. In western calendars, the leap year was introduced by the Roman General Julius Caesar, about 2000 years ago. Leap days make sure our contemporary Gregorian calendar stays in sync with the seasons. The Julian Calendar, named after Julius Caesar, worked on one very simple formula to calculate leap years. The formula was to divide the year by four, if it will be completely divisible, then it is a leap year. Since then, this formula is still used. However, this formula caused the formation of way too many leap years which led the Julian Calender to fall apart in accordance with the tropical year by one day every 128 years and required a more precise formula. This error was not taken into consideration or corrected until the modern calendar was made about 1500 years later. The number of days that skipped started to realign with the calendar.

Facts And Information About A Leap Year

If there is no leap year every four years and every calendar year has 365 days, it will move slower than the actual solar year.

Our modern Gregorian calendar is kept in sync with the seasons and Earth's orbit around the Sun thanks to leap days. As time passes, the difference will expand to the point that we will no longer be able to measure our time and seasons of the year. Assume that February is a cold winter month where you reside. If we didn't have leap years, our calendar year would move forward by around one day after four years. In just a few hundred years, February would be replaced by the sweltering summer months.

Approximately four million humans in the world have been born on leap day, February 29. The babies born in leap years are called leaplings or leapers. The chance of being born on a leap day is one in 1,461. February 29 is also called the intercalary day.

There is a misconception by many people that to calculate leap years, it must be fully divisible by 100 other than four. In the past,, this day was recognized as a day to be free from the patriarchal society for women, meaning they could do anything they wanted and they did not need to ask their husbands. It is common for women to ask men to marry them in leap years. In Greece, getting married in a leap year is seen as a stroke of bad luck for the marriage and the whole after marital life will not see any good luck. The next leap year will be 2024 and the last leap day fell on Saturday, 29 February 2020.

February: The Shortest Month of All

In the past, the Roman calendar had 10 months with no leap year after four years, but it was later changed according to the comfort of the people and the king. The king of Rome Numa Pompilius added two more months to the calendar which were January and February. January had a greater number of days, but Februrary had just 28 days. Pompilius wanted to make a more synced calendar with the lunar months. The Romans considered even numbers as unlucky and so every month had 29 or 31 days to make the annual count of 365 days.

The Romans were very inclined towards agriculture and their main purpose was to keep a track of harvesting and planting cycles. After many years, Julius Caesar again reorganized the calendar. One of the reasons why the month of February is so short is because it was at the last month of the Roman calendar and became the victim of just adjusting the number of days in the month to make the year odd.

The Roman calendar had many anomalies which contrasted with the astronomical seasons.

What is the connection between February and a leap year?

Leap days maintain our contemporary Gregorian calendar in sync with the seasons and Earth's orbit around the Sun. The orbit of the Earth is calculated by Vernal Equinox. It takes the Earth 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, or 365.242189 days, to complete one orbit around the Sun.

This is referred to as a tropical year, and it begins on the March equinox. However, the western calendar consists of only 365 days each year. If we did not add a leap day every fourth year on February 29 in our calendars, our calendars would be set to start six hours earlier than the complete revolution of the Earth around the Sun. As a result, our timekeeping would gradually drift away from the tropical year, becoming gradually out of sync with the correct seasonal changes. With a six hour per year divergence, the seasons would move by nearly 24 calendar days in 100 years. If we allowed this to continue for a while, it would not take long for people living in the Northern Hemisphere to be enjoying Christmas in the heat of summer. This change would only take a few centuries. Leap days correct this problem by allowing the Earth to complete a full orbit around the Sun.

Written By
Nidhi Sahai

<p>Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.</p>

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