Once every four years there are 366 days in the year. Today, February 29th, is that extra day. It’s called Leap Day. I don’t really understand how or why there is an extra day in the year once every four years. Where does this extra day come from? What do people do who were born on February 29th? Do they just celebrate every four years or do they celebrate on February 28th or March 1st? My birthday is very important to me, so this really bothers me.
I did some research to find out a little more about Leap Day. Apparently the reason for Leap Day, an extra day every four years, is to keep the calendar in accordance with the seasons because it actually takes the earth 365.2422 days to travel around the sun. If we didn’t add this extra day, eventually we would be celebrating the 4th of July in winter. In a similar way that Leap Day balances the calendar, there is an Irish tradition that balances the traditional roles of men and women. According to Irish legend, St. Bridget made a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years.
For people born on February 29th, there is The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. It seems to be a personal choice whether people celebrate on February 28th or March 1st, or just every four years on February 29th. No offense to anyone born on February 29th because it is kind of cool, but it would really bother me if I did not have an exact date to celebrate my birthday every year.
So I still don’t know where this extra day we call Leap Day actually comes from. I mean I know the history, but literally where do we get an extra day from? How do we just pull it out of thin air? But I will try not to think about it too hard. Just like I try not to think too hard about daylight savings time. I just don’t understand how we can arbitrarily add a day to a month or an hour to a day.
Anyway, Happy Leap Day – do something cool with your extra day!