Leap Day is Important, Here’s Why
Leap Day is coming up, and it's actually important; more important than daylight savings. Leap Day comes around every four years and it plays an enormously important role: to keep our annual calendar and the seasons aligned for years.
If you are thinking that we have a Leap Day just because it's tradition, that's not it. It's actually for science reasons, and it has been done for hundreds of years. Since the Earth's rotation around the Sun is about 365 days and 1/4 of a day, if you were to not have a Leap Day, then some seasons would be off by a day or two. This might not seem bad, but after a few decades, it can really throw things off. Also, it's not just the Earth's rotation that can throw off our year, it's actually the tides of the oceans as the tides can also slow down the Earth's rotation. Scientists say that Leap Day may need to gain a few hours or a day to keep up with the Earth's trip around the Sun.
Here are some facts about Leap Day and the history of it.
- Earth's daily rotation isn't actually 24 hours. It's around 23 hours and 56 mins, some days can be longer and some can be shorter.
- Earth's rotation around the Sun is longer than 365 days. It actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds – or 365.24219 days.
- Ancient Romans had an extra month every few years because the Roman calendar year was 355 days – 10 days and a few hours shorter than the solar year.
- Several countries, including Sweden and Soviet Union, have had to add February 30th to their calendar.
- Since 1582 there have been 108 or 109 leap days – not that many for a tradition that has been around for five centuries.
- This one is confusing. Leap Day happens every 4 years, except when the year can be divided by 4 but cannot be divided by 100, which is why 2100 and 2200 won't be a Leap Day. But if the year is divisible by 100, and also divisible by 400, then it is a leap year, which is what happened in 2000.
- Chances of being born on Leap Day is 1 in 1,461. So about 0.07% of the world's population were probably born on Leap Day.
- Leap Day is also a day where women are supposed to propose marriage to men, and men aren't allowed to say "No." So just a heads up ladies.
- It's also bad luck to be married on Leap Day.
You can see more science facts about Leap Day here.