Normally today would be the last day of February. Tomorrow would usher in the windy month of March. However, the rotation of the earth and the arrival of the seasons don’t fit human record-keeping or the movement of the earth around the sun. Hence, the institution of a confusing effort to keep things neat and organized—Leap Year. Every four years, February is gifted with an extra day.

Except when it isn’t.

Far back in our history, the changing of the seasons was tracked by the Julian calendar. However, since the earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds to circle the sun instead of the simple to keep track of 365 or 366 days, after a while the Julian calendar drifted out of sync with the actual astronomical year. The transition from the Julian calendar to the currently used Gregorian calendar began in 1582. The Gregorian calendar is still in use today in most parts of the world.

According to the webpage, www.timeanddate.com/date/leapyear.html  there are rules that determine which years get an extra day added to the calendar.

The year must be evenly divisible by 4.

If the year can also be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a Leap Year,

Unless the year is also evenly divisible by 400. 

Then it IS a Leap Year.

According to these rules, the years 2000 and 2400 are leap years.

The years 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are not.

The year 2000 was somewhat unique as it was the first instance when the third criterion was used.

We humans,  being creative creatures with an innate sense of humor and a love of a good joke, have found a variety of ways to commemorate this odd reality.

This phenomenon has sparked customs across the world. BUZZFEED has an interesting article, “Leap Year Traditions You May Not Know About,” Here is the link to that article:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmacooke24/leap-year-traditions?utm_source=dynamic&utm_campaign=bfshareemail


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