5 Facts About Leap Years
A leap year, also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year, is a calendar year that contains an additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year.
Below are some facts about leap year:
Caesar, the father of leap year
Julius Caesar implemented the leap year in Rome. The Julian Calendar was implemented in 46 B.C.E. Though it was flawed, it remained in place for 16 centuries until the Gregorian Calendar replaced it.
The reason for doing this was to keep the calendar system in line with the seasons. Roman officials were supposed to insert an extra month every so often, but by the time Caesar began to rule Rome, the calendar had gotten seriously out of whack. Caesar consulted with the top astronomers of the day, and in 46 B.C. decided to add one day (known as an intercalary day, or leap day) every four years to make up the discrepancy between the lunar and solar calendars. Caesar also took the opportunity to rename Quintillis, the fifth month of the year (counting from March), leaving us with the month we call July today.
Leap days must align
Some leap years are purposely skipped. Because the solar year lasts 365.24219 days, the leap day is skipped to remain in alignment with the earth’s orbit around the sun.
February 29 for the witches
February 29 is connected to the Salem Witch Trials. On Feb. 29, 1692, the initial arrest warrants were issued for those accused of witchcraft in the community.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than two hundred people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed by hanging (fourteen women and five men). One other man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail.
Leap Year Association
Leap year babies have their own honour society. More than 11,000 “leapers” are members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies. Membership is free.
Leap years match up with certain elections. The U.S. presidential elections align with leap years. Unless, of course, a leap year is skipped.