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Every four years a mysterious day floats out of the ether and joins the other 365 days of the year before silently disappearing again. February 29th shouldn’t exist, its a clumsy but simple way of reconciling the quirks of the earths rotation around the sun, to our anachronistic 365 day calender

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Scientific explanation – directly from Wikipedia

“Although most years of the modern calendar have 365 days, a complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, during which an extra 24 hours have accumulated, one extra day is added to keep the count coordinated with the sun’s apparent position.”

It is, however, slightly inaccurate to calculate an additional 6 hours each year. A better approximation, derived from the Alfonsine tables, is that the Earth takes a complete revolution around the sun in 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds. To compensate for the difference, an end-of-century year is not a leap year unless it is also exactly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600 and 2000 were leap years, as will be 2400 and 2800, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, nor will be 2100, 2200 and 2300.”

Most famous/most interesting thing thats happened on February 29th.

Not a lot. In 1504 Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies. Sneaky bastard.

 

Today, in celebration of the leap day, why not consider one of these leap day traditions

-if you’re a lady, ask a man to marry you (assuming you want to marry him). This ridiculously┬á tradition supposedly originated with St Bridget. That’s all we get, ONE DAY IN EVERY FOUR YEARS?! Thanks men. Tsk. If you are thinking about proposing, watch these informative youtube films first so you might avoid some of these people’s mistakes.

-if you know someone who was born on February 29th, why not make jokes along the lines of how they’re only 5/6/7 years old/do they even exist at all? Delightful, and I’m sure they’ve never heard it before!

Enjoy leap day!

x Kerry