Leap Day: March Will Wait Another Day
Today is not March 1st, in case you’re just waking up, It’s still February, at least according to the Gregorian calendar.
Every four years, with some exceptions, February has an extra day to help account for the difference between a calendar year and the time it actually takes the Earth to orbit the sun or what’s known as a tropical year.
Without the leap year, the seasons would get out of sync with the calendar. If the leap year was never put in place, the calendar today would say July 15, 2017, and you’d still be having your current end-of-February weather.
In Western culture, the Julian calendar was the first to include a leap year in the year 8 AD. Every fourth year was 366 days long.
However, this didn’t solve the problem entirely. You see, the tropical year is slightly less than 365 and a quarter days, meaning that after 400 years, the calendars would be out of sync by three days. To remedy this situation, most century years, like 1800 and 1900 are common, or non-leap, years. However, once every 400 years, the century year remains a leap year to keep the calendar on track. The last century year that was a leap year was 2000. The next will be 2400.
A person born on February 29 is known as a leapling, a leaper or, rather boringly, a leap-year baby. Such people have the option of celebrating their birthday on February 28 or March 1 in common years. Legally speaking, laws around the world differ as to when the birthday is recognized. New Zealand uses February 28 for drivers licenses, while the United Kingdom uses March 1. Laws in the United States differ on the subject.
Famous people born on February 29 include artist Augusta Savage, musician Jimmy Dorsey, actor Dennis Farina and rapper Ja Rule.
Our question: Which Gilbert and Sullivan opera has a character’s February 29th birthday as a major plot point?
Today is Rare Disease Day, and National Surf and Turf Day.
This week in 1992, another leap year, the top song in the U.S. was “To Be With You” by Mr. Big.
The No. 1 movie was “Wayne’s World,” while the novel “Hideaway” by Dean Koontz topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Before the break we asked: Which Gilbert and Sullivan opera has a character’s February 29th birthday as a major plot point?
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