Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Fun

Daughter Julie making mono prints in my studio

So today is that extra day we get every four years…it is Leap Year again.  We take the calendar so for granted that it's quite a jolt to remember now and then that "marking" time has a history of ups and downs just like lots of other things that you take for granted (see history of leap year below).

My daughter Julie is here from WI where the winter winds still swirl around making everyone have spring fever.  We've had a whirlwind week trying to STOP time for awhile as we stuff everything we can think of into the 7 days she's here.  

Today we are off to canoe on Lake Griffin with a docent so that we hope to see tons of birds!  Hoping you all have a great "extra" day today.  

Today is Leap Year Day, when the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. This happens every four years and only in years that are divisible by four, such as 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
The length of time it takes the Earth to completely orbit the sun is 365 days and six hours. Most calendars only list 365 days. An extra 24 hours accumulates every four years, requiring an extra calendar day. If we didn't account for this extra day, eventually, we'd have Christmas in July.
The Egyptians were the first to calculate the need for this type of regulation, but it wasn't put into practice until Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, consulted with the top astronomers of the day and in 46 B.C. began adding one day (known as an intercalary day, or "leap" day) every four years to make up for the discrepancy. At the time, the ancient Roman calendar system was based on a total of 355 days, a full 10 ¼ days shorter than a solar year. Not one to waste an opportunity, he also decided to rename "Quintilis," the fifth month of the year (counting from March), which is how we got the month named "July."
Unfortunately, Caesar's new calendar system wasn't strictly enforced, and by the 16th century, it was almost 10 days off track, so in 1582, Pope Gregory reformed the Julian calendar. The calendar system we now use is called the Gregorian calendar.
According to British historical tradition, a leap day is the only day of the year a woman can propose marriage to a man.
A person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling." If you are born on February 29, you're eligible to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.

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