why is the leap year in february
The ancient Romans used to have the new year at the end of February. To fit the lunar and solar calendars, an extra month was sometimes added after February. This practice continued even after the months were shifted so that new year moved to where it is now (this shift is the reason why we have e. g. "december" 'tenth month', as number twelve). This proved to be problematic, as it was the Pontifex maximus who decided when to add this extra month, which was sometimes forgotten, or done/not done to gain political advantage. With the, the months got the length we are used to, and the leap days as we know them were added. See wikipedia on for a somewhat longer history.
Why do we have a leap year every four years? (Picture: Getty) In case you missed it (and who could blame you?
Not everyone is a constant calendar-checker), 2016 is a leap year, meaning we have one extra day: February 29. We all know that leap years fall every four years, anyone born on February 29th gets special treats, and that on leap day women are encouraged to propose. But have you ever wonderedВ whyВ we actually have leap years? Are they just a weird tradition weвve made up for an excuse for free stuff? Nope. Leap years are actually pretty important, and play a key role in keeping seasons and our calendars working properly. Itвs to do with the sun and the earthвs orbit. (Picture: Getty) Let us explain. See, we rely on a solar calendar, meaning we use to sun to tell us how long a year is and when seasons change. The sunвs position marks the season. This feeds into how years are calculated.
One year is measured as the time between the beginning of spring and the next time spring occurs в which is technicallyВ notВ 365 days (as we all tend to think), but 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds. That exact figure has been rounded up to 365 days and one quarter by philosophers trying to keep things simple. And keeping our calendars easy to understand. (Picture: Getty) And so, to make years easy to keep track of and not have to deal with a quarter of a day every year, every four years we have to add on an extra day to the calendar. Because four quarter days makes one full day. Get it? If we just ignored that awkward quarter of a day and had a 365 day year, the months would slowly shift in time with the sun, until eventually June would be winter.
No leap year means the seasons would shift. (Picture: Getty) Now, leap years are any year that can be divisible by four. Apart from century years, which must be divisible by 400. And if youвre wondering why February drew the short straw, thereвs a (slightly unfair) reason. Itвs because of Julius Caesar and the later Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus. The calendar created by Julius Caesar left February with 30 days, July (named after Julius) with 31, and August with 29. We need leap years. (Picture: Getty) But when Augustus came into power, he wanted his month, August, to have more days. So he added two days to his month, taking one from February. And so, every four years we have February 29 в leap day. Itвs important. MORE: MORE:
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