Today the shortest month of the year gains an extra day. Leap Year has been around for about 2,000 years. The 365-day calendar was created by Julius Cesar around 45 BCE, and astronomer Sosigenes brought on the addition of the extra day in February every four years.
Many people wonder why we even have Leap Day.
Our year is 365 days long, except that isn’t entirely true. A full cycle of seasons, or for the earth to complete its full rotation around the sun, is actually 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds or 365.242199 days, long to be precise. Over time the extra quarter of a day can add up and without the Leap Day the calendar would not match the seasons. After 30 years, it would be off a week, after 100 years, it would be about 24 days off. If we did not have Leap Year the calendar could be off nearly 16 months behind…
Here are some fun facts about leap year:
- The chances of being born on a Leap Year are 1 in 1,461
- About 4 million people worldwide have a Feb. 29 birthday
- It is believed that the actual term “Leap Year” was derived hundreds of years ago, when Leap Day was not legally recognized, and so it was ignored and “leapt” over
- Feb. 29 is traditionally a day where women were “permitted” to ask men to marry them. Today, Feb. 29 still commemorates Sadie Hawkins Day, the namesake of the turnabout dances many schools still host, where girls are encouraged to ask boys to attend with them.