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Posted by on Jan 9, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Why Are There Leap Years?

Why Are There Leap Years?

To answer this question, you need to remember that a year is measured by the amount of time it takes the earth to make one trip around the sun. This takes about 365¼ days. Since we cannot have ¼ of a day that stands alone, we say that there are 365 days in a year.

We ignore the quarter of a day until it has accumulated for four years. After four years, the extra four quarters add up to one full day. We add this extra day to the fourth year, and say that it has 366 days. We call this fourth year “leap year,” and the extra day is February 29.

Usually, there is a leap year every four years — but once in a long while, a leap year has to be skipped (this is because the Earth’s orbit is 365.242 days, a bit less than 365¼). With the current system of adding leap days, it will be 3,300 years before the calendar is again off by a day.

Do you now there is a tradition where women are allowed to propose marriage to men on leap days. One day in the 5th century, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the unfairness of the system which only allowed men to propose, so he decided to let women do the asking once every four years!

Content for this question contributed by Sheryl Mabulay, resident of Harrison, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA