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2024: What is Leap Year?

Leap Year occurs once every four years

Did you know that 2024 is a leap year?

Not many people know that this year is a leap year. A leap year occurs almost every 4 years in the Gregorian Calendar. Each year will have roughly 365 days. But on leap years, there are 366. February 29, also known as Leap Day, is an extra day that is added to February.

Why do leap years exist?

Leap years exist because the timing of the Earth’s rotation is very precise. A year is how long it takes the Earth to rotate around the sun. A calendar is exactly 365 days long, but the solar year is about 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 56 seconds longer according to LiveScience. The time it takes Earth to spin around the sun is approximately 365.25 days. The difference might not be much, but it could still add up in the future. For example, summer would begin in December instead of June in the Northern Hemisphere. Adding a leap day helps solve the problem because an extra day is the same length as the difference in time over four years.

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A 7th-grade student, Fionnley McCorkle, thought that “adding a little extra time to every day to add up to one day” could also be a potential solution to the issue of extra time being needed.

How often do leap years occur?

Leap years usually occur every 4 years in the Gregorian calendar. That’s because of the extra time that it takes for the Earth to orbit around the sun. However, there are exceptions to that rule. If a year is divisible by 100 and not 400, then the leap year is skipped. The last leap year occurred in 2020 and the next will occur in 2028.

What is the importance of leap years?

Seasons would gradually drift a quarter of a day yearly if leap year didn’t exist. Therefore, the Roman and solar years would also be out of sync. The start of a season would change a lot after a few decades. The National Air and Space Museum concluded that the Northern Hemisphere’s summer would begin in December instead of June. In order to maintain consistency, leap year was introduced.

When was the first leap year introduced?

The first leap year was first introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar of Rome. Many other calendars such as the Hebrew, Chinese, and Buddhist also have versions of Leap Year. Some calendars will also have multiple leap days or shortened months. In ancient China and Rome, lunar calendars were used. Lunar calendar months were 29.5 days long, making a year only 354 days. It meant that extra days were added to fix the issue of the extra time.

What customs and traditions are associated with leap year?

According to an old Irish legend, St Brigid made a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men instead of vice versa. It’s believed to be introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women similarly to how leap day balances the calendar. In many European countries, a tradition says that if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on Leap Day then he has to buy 12 pairs of gloves. “The intention is that the woman could wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring” according to  In Scotland, it’s unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day just like how Friday the 13th is considered unlucky.

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About the Contributor
Emily F.
Emily F., Newspaper Reporter
Emily Fan is a 7th grade Digital Newspaper Student at Lively Middle School
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    Maggie LuMar 4, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    Great introduction!