2020 is an exciting year, not only because it’s the start of the new decade and CINER’s 128th year in business, but also because it’s a leap year!
Just about every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar in the form of February 29, also known as ‘Leap Day’. The additional 24 hours are built into the calendar to guarantee time will stay in line with the Earth as it orbits the Sun. Today, our calendar contains 365 days however the actual time it takes the Earth to orbit its star is slightly longer—roughly 365.2421 days. The difference might seem insignificant, but over decades and centuries, that missing quarter of a day per year can add up!
Here are some fun facts about the origin of Leap Day!
Many ancient calendars had entire leap months, not just a day.
Julius Caesar introduced Leap Day, with the help from the Egyptians which took effect January 1st, 45 BCE.
Although they were slightly off, with Caesar’s calculation that a year lasted 365.25 days, it is astonishing what Caesar, the Egyptians and many, many philosophers were able to conclude without the help of Google, Alexa or Siri.
To supplement this miscalculation, brought to the attention by the Catholic Church during the 16th century, after noticing Easter was drifting farther and farther away from its traditional place, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned a modified calendar, one which kept Leap Day but accounted for the inaccuracy by eliminating it on centurial years not divisible by 400 (1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was).
The introduction of the Gregorian Calendar marked the last change to the Western calendar as we know it today. It is noted that the Gregorian Calendar is still not perfect, meaning another correction will be necessary. Luckily, this calendar is off by one day every 3,030 years so we have some time before this becomes a serious problem. *Fun fact: There will be 8 years between leap years 2096 and 2104.
Leap Day is often associated with marriage, proposals, and flipping gender roles.
Many Leap Day customs revolve around romance and marriage! Tradition holds that in 5th-century Ireland, St. Bridget grieved to St. Patrick that women were not allowed to propose marriage to men. So, legend has it that St. Patrick designated the only day that does not occur annually, February 29, as a day on which women would be allowed to propose to men. In some places, Leap Day thus became known as “Bachelor's Day”
(If you notice someone getting engaged this weekend, share this collaboration with them…….gotta love a sales push, right 😉 )
People born on Leap Day are called “Leaplings”. There are only about 5 million people in the whole world who were born on February 29th. The odds of being born on Leap Day is 1-in-1,461.
On this Day 1892
St. Petersburg, Florida is incorporated as a town with a population of 300 people. Known for its warm weather and for glimmering between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg Florida now has a population estimated to be 265,098.