An added day in February every four years gives us 24 more hours than we’re used to. How are you going to spend your extra day? Here are five things about Leap Day to help you learn about our calendar system and what you can do with an extra day.
Julius Caesar, leader of the Roman Empire, was the first to see a flaw in the calendar system that used 355 days. He attempted to fix the problem by adding days to different months of the year. This created a 365-day calendar. However, adding days to certain months still didn’t fix the problem. It takes the earth a little over 365 days to rotate around the sun. The specific time required is: 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. By the 16th century, the Julian calendar was almost 10 days off track. Pope Gregory XIII made reforms in 1582 and produced the calendar that we still use today. The Gregorian system rules that Leap Days only fall during a year that can be divided by the number four. If it is a century year, then it must be divisible by four-hundred.
A “leapling” is a child born on Feb. 29. Every four years, these individuals get a true birthday. On any other year, they either celebrate the day before or the day after. They could even decide to mix it up each birthday. A quick fact about a leapling is that Sir James Wilson is the only person known to have been born and died on two separate Leap Days.