When life gives you an extra day in a year, meaning 366 days in a year instead of 365, then you call it a leap year. In simple terms, a leap year is a year with 29 days in Feburary instead of 28. And that one day extra you get to do something with your life comes after every four years.
There is a simple science behind a leap year. A leap year, once in a while, helps keep seasons and calendars in sync. You will understand better in this way-
Earth doesn’t exactly take 365 days to revolve around the sun, Earth takes 365 days five hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds to revolve around the sun. So the leap year after every four years help to make up for those extra hours and second.
Roughly, those five hours and 48 minutes and 46 seconds are added for four years and then molded into a day which we call 29 February or a leap year.
What if we don’t observe leap year?
If we don’t observe the leap year, those five hours and 48 minutes and 46 seconds will keep on adding and adding and in 750 years’ time, you would observe June with blankets on for it would fall somewhere during winters.
Why Leap Year Is Called A Leap Year?
Leap year is called so because it makes each date on the calendar to jump by two days rather than the usual one.
For example, if your birthday was on Monday in 2018, it must have been on Tuesday in 2019 but in 2020, a leap year, it would be on Thursday.
You can check what day your birthday fell last year and what day it is this year to understand better.
Who Introduced Leap Year?
Julius Ceaser is credited for the idea of leap years, which he introduced in 45 BC. The early Roman calendar has 355 days and to keep the festivals occurring around the same season, a 22 or 23 days month was added to the calendar after every two years.
Julius, however, decided to simplify the same. So, Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes added days to a different calendar months to make a 365 days year.
However, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar by creating the Gregorian calendar. The same stated that leaps days should not be added to the months ending with “00” unless that year is also divisible by 400.
This was done to stabilize the calendar over a period of thousands of years and was necessary because we also have solar years that are less than 365.25 days.
Leap Day Traditions
In Ireland and Britain, a leap day is observed as a good day for a woman to propose a man. Believed to have originated in fifth-century Ireland, this was traditionally the only day a woman could propose, and it was unwise for a man to refuse.
If a man doesn’t accept the proposal, especially on the leap day, then as a fine, he needs to five a pair of leather gloves, a single rose, £1 and a kiss to the lady.