Why do we have a Leap Year?

February-29th-CalendarFebruary 29th, every four years is a leap year and most people go on with their daily chores without even noticing an extra day in a year. What most people don’t know is why there is an extra day on a leap year. According to the Gregorian calendar’s, this is down to the disparity with the solar system. The earth takes exactly 365.2422 days to orbit around the sun, but the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar ordered on 365 days a year with an extra day every four years to incorporate the remaining extra times after consulting with his astronomers.

Apparently he gave July the 31 days after his name and August the 29 days which was later changed again during the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus time. He made August 31 days in honour of his great name and poor February lost out in the process. So hence February 29 was born which we have it today since some 40BC or so.

Traditionally on a leap year day, woman can propose to men. No one knows where this custom comes from but there are several theories. One legend has it, an Irish nun St Bridget, complained to St Patrick that woman had to wait too long for their man to propose. Upon hearing this St Patrick is supposedly have said woman can propose every four years. There are also so many similar stories around proposals of marriages by woman on this special day from different countries.   

I wonder how many people are born on 29th February as I believe the probabilities of having birthday on this day are 1 in 1,461. People who are born on this day are known as leaplings or leapers.

Do you know any leapers or are you a leaper?

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About TYW

I am Tenzin from Devon in England but I am originally from Bhutan. It is a small country in the Himalayas. Famously known as the Land of Gross National Happiness. Tashi Delek!
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