Happy Leap Year!
As a kid, I couldn’t get my head around why sometimes February was 29 days, while other years it wasn’t. What happened to the extra day? But more importantly, what happened if you were born on that day? How does one celebrate a day that only occurs once every four years?! And sometimes even less.
Did you know that the year 2000 was a leap year? But wasn’t? Confused yet? Me too, so let me explain.
The leap year was invented to compensate for the fact that the Earth, the Sun, and the Universe, do not revolve around mankind. In fact, they keep to entirely their own schedule that is not a neat 365-day rotation. The Earth actually takes roughly 365.2421897 to rotate the sun.
Humans love a predictable world and routine. We particularly love knowing when our next holiday will be, when Christmas is, Easter, and of course, our birthdays. Because of this the calendar was developed, a calendar that was based on 365.25 days per year. To compensate for the .25 days, every four years an additional day is added—creating the leap year.
The only problem with this system is that rounding .2421897 to .25 is an extreme over simplification when we’re dealing with time, and leads to too many extra days. As a result, every 400 years, we skip the skipping rule, and ignore the leap year. Which most recently happened in the year 2000.
To make it even more confusing, even this system of leap years and leaping leap years still results in us being out by a day every 4000 years—an issue that we have another 2000 years to sort out.
Now that you know the source of our additional day, how will you spend it? Will it be just another regular day to slip by this year? Or will you make it memorable? After all, this day comes around less often than your birthday, so you may as well celebrate it!
So happy leap year one and all! May you spend it celebrating the Sun, the Earth, and the Universe, for keeping us humans on our toes.
The Skerwinkles xox