Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Not in Summer?

There is an extra day this year.  I have no problem with that.  But why get the extra day in February?*  In the dead of winter.  And why does Leap Year coincide with our Presidential Election year?  Goodness knows we already have enough days for the primary BS rhetoric.  We surely don't need an exta one!

This calendar sat on my desk through my working years.  Now I keep it as a reminder.  Not of the days going by, but how glad I am to be retired.

You likely know that we have leap year because our solar year is a bit longer than 365 days.  In fact, the solar year is 365 days, 6 hours and 26 seconds.  So every four years we add an additional day to make up for the difference.  With few exceptions, years that are evenly divisible by 4 will be a leap year and have 366 days.  During those years February will have 29 days, the 29th being known as "Leap Day."

The extra day every four years doesn't quite satisfy the difference between the solar year and the Gregorian calender we use.  Therefore, we do not have leap year in most century years.  In fact, only one in four century years has the additional leap day.  The year 2000 had a leap day, but the year 1700 did not.  Neither did the years 1800 or 1900.  And the year 2100 will not have a leap day.  A simple way to remember it is that if the century year is not evenly divisible by 400, it will not be a leap year.  (Simpler still is to forget about it because one is not likely to remember two century years.)

So here's to Leap Day!  Happy birthday to all those born on February 29!  You have beaten the odds.  (The odds for having a Leap Day birthday are 1:1,461)

As for me, I'd much rather have Leap Day in the summer.  And definitely during non-election years.

*The extra day is added to February to keep the vernal equinox on or around March 21.  Were the vernal equinox date changed it would affect the date of Easter.


The Bug said...

I was supposed to be a Leap Day baby, but I was three days late :( I was always sad about that - wouldn't it be special to be a Leapling? (I just read that term today).

Rae said...

It's a great day. It's my leapling grandson's birthday today. It's nice to celebrate on the real day. He is celebrating #3 which actually translates to 12.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I agree. Let's keep February as short as possible!

Anonymous said...

Before my little leaper was born I would have agreed with you. ;)

Ms. A said...

Happy Leap Day. I spent all day babysitting and it was a long day.

Arkansas Patti said...

I agree, it is too bad that extra day falls in election years. Like we need one more day of campaigning.
Always thought it would be cool being a leaper. Forever young but then you would die young also. Yikes.

Jill said...

I am with you...the leap day should be moved to summer. Feb. is not a good month for it. Maybe we can get one of those politicians to work on that...after we form a committee that is.. ha ha.

Tipper said...

Happy late leap day : ) I'm with you we need the extra day in the summer : )

troutbirder said...

I guess I haven't thought much about the extra day. But the reminder of being retired is WONDERFUL. :)

Ginnie said...

I'm always glad when February is behind me, be it 28 or 29 days.
Although we are in the same state of North Carolina I'll bet your weather and mine are very different.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I've never really understood it...and after reading this, I still don't. :) But thanks for trying, some of us (ME) are just ignorant to it all. (blissfully ignorant that is)
What I want to know is...who decides which year will BE leap year? The calendar people??? :)

Mary Lee said...

When I started reading this, I thought to myself, "And not in an election year...!"

GREAT MINDS... and all that. :)

I was supposed to have been a Christmas baby. Then I'd NEVER have had a birthday.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.


Jane - I read your post about your leaper. Very nice.