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Happy Leap Day

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Mollie LaSalle
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Each year has 365 days, except for leap years, when an extra day is added to the calendar; that day is today, Feb. 29.

Simply stated, a leap year is known as a calendar correction, according to the Gregorian calendar, the standard for most of the world. Generally, leap years coincide with presidential election years. However, that has not always held true. Nineteen Hundred was a presidential election year, but not a leap year, as was Eighteen Hundred; but for the most part, leap years have been every four years that we elect a new president.

How and when did leap year start, and why? Roman emperor Julius Caesar created a year of confusion when he decided that 46 B.C. was going to be 445 days long instead of 365. Eventually, he made a 365.25-day year that added a leap day every fourth year. A leap day occurs during a leap year, which is a year containing an inserted period of time, specifically, Feb. 29. The next leap year will occur in 2028. The easiest way to remember

Earth’s orbit is the reason for leap years/days. It actually takes Earth 362.422 days to complete a full revolution around the sun. The 0.2422 days adds up; this fraction allows the seasons to line up. If this was forgotten, the seasons would shift; this would impact other aspects of life. That is why leap years exist; four 0.2422 days equal roughly one full day.

The idea of adding an extra day the calendar is not new, it has been around for years. Julius Caesar actually got the idea for an extra day from the Egyptians. By the third century BCE, the Egyptians followed a solar calendar that contained 365 days with a leap year every four years. When Caesar was making the Julian calendar, he took inspiration from the Egyptians and added an extra day to February every four years.

Feb. 29 is a rare birthdate; the odds of being born on this date are one-in-1,461. Many “leaplings” celebrate their birthdays either February 28, or March 1. Doris Day was a leap day baby, as was Alex Rocco, and Dennis Farina. Actor Antonio Sabato, Jr. and musician Saul Williams will celebrate today, both having only 13 actual Feb. 29 birthdates, they are both 52 today. Author and life coach Tony Robbins also celebrates today, having only 16 actual birthdates; he is 64. It is estimated that, around the globe, roughly five million people have this unique birthdate.

Happiest of birthdays to all the leap day babies everywhere.

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