Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest are Thirty-one. Except for February. But why? First off, how many days make up a year? One must understand that there are different calendars, each with its unique system. The most common, the Gregorian calendar, puts the number of days at 365 and 366 on leap years. What is the significance of a leap year?
The accurate number of days in a year, however, is 365.2422. (Yes, a decimal). This means, in clear terms, that a year is made up of 365 days and an extra 6 hours or so. Since it is impossible to have a 6-hour day, the extra six hours are collated after 4 years to make up 24 hours (a single day) and that’s why we have 366 days every four years.
People say Time waits for nobody. Apparently, these people haven’t heard of Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory.
After discovering the Leap Day from Egypt, Julius Caesar, in his bid to correct the errors in his Roman Calendar, embarked on what is historically known as the Year Of Confusion in 46BC — a year that was 445 days long. From 47BC, the Julian calendar accommodated 365.25 days per year.
Why is the leap year so important, you might ask.
Well, ignoring the leap days would cause a shift in the number of days per year. In the long run, this changes could affect planting seasons and even dates of festivities. In fact, this is what prompted Pope Gregory to review the Julian calendar and adjust it into what is now known as the Gregorian calendar.
Here are some fun facts about Leap Years:
– People born on February 29 are called Leaplings or Leapers. So feel free to call Ja Rule or even our very own Korede Bello, a Leapling.
– In some countries like Ireland, the Leap day is known as Bachelors’ Day — a day where cultural roles are reversed and women are urged to ask for men’s hands in marriage.
– Century years that are not divisible by 400 won’t have a leap year. Ergo, Year 2100 will not be a leap year.
– Today is 29 February 2020, a Saturday. Saturdays are usually designated for weddings. But not many Greeks will get married today. In Greece, it is considered bad luck to get married on a Leap Year.