What is a leap year? We’ll tell you!

Leap for joy! It's leap year!

Happy Leap Day to you! It’s February 29 today, an event that only occurs once every four years.

Do you find yourself outraged at this calender “error” wondering whether this is what society has come to, simply tacking on extra days at the drop of a hat? Are you annoyed with adults who proudly proclaim that they’re something ridiculous like 7-years-old because they were born on February 29? You, our friend, are confused about the leap day. Don’t feel bad, it happens to a lot of people, like the perplexed young woman in the video below. We’re here to help.

A leap day is an extra day added to a month to prevent a “drifting” of sorts in the calender because the earth does not orbit the sun in exactly 365 days. It typically only occurs every four years. The saying goes, leap years happen the same years as presidential elections and the Olympics.

So what would happen without said leap year? Probably not much of anything in your lifetime. However, if the calender always had the same number of days, the months and their corresponding seasons would eventually be off. We can’t go having sunshine and heat in December, now can we?

Now to the rare sect of “leap year babies,” people who happened to be born on February 29. Despite their ramblings about being one-quarter of their real age, these people do, in fact, age each year — but they only have an official “birthday” once every four years. Big deal.
 

There are traditions associated with leap years in some cultures. In Britain and Ireland, it’s deemed the only time a woman can propose, per the moderately entertaining Amy Adams movie Leap Year.  If the man refuses, as tradition goes, he must pay her some sort of compensation ranging from fabric to money, depending on the country.

Clearly, nobody explained the leap year to this poor, poor girl before she went and posted on YouTube.


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