A Southern Girl’s View… Leap Day

Another Monday and another big event…    In about 20 minutes, I will be another year older or so I think.   My birthday is somewhere between 12am and 12am or as I like to call it…  the twilight zone.    See I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to be born on Feb 29 which is leap day and only comes every 4 years.    So technically I am still not old enough to drive.   I always feel weird on my non-birthday years and then I am totally obnoxious on those few years where I actually have a day to myself.   I guess you could compare the feeling to having to share a bedroom with a sibling for your entire childhood.    Over the course of my life I have met a few others that share my same day which is always a bonding moment, but more times than I care to remember I have met folks who do not understand then insist on me explaining all about it  {usually in the check out lane at the grocery store or car rental place, etc}.   Growing up I knew that I had a “special” birthday but thought all moms made a special day on the calendar for their kids.   And doesn’t every kid get their “first” birthday in the town newspaper when they turn 4?   However, over the course of my life I have come to appreciate my very unique birthday and accept that I will forever be a member of the Leap Day Babies Club.

It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn’t always match up.That’s because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.Therefore, as the hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.It was the Romans who first designated February 29 as leap day. Later, a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four, i.e., 2008, 2012.Another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year … but 2000 was [excerpt from http://www.chiff.com].

Julius Caesar was behind the origin of leap year in 45 BC. The early Romans had a 355 day calendar and to keep festivals occurring around the same season each year a 22 or 23 day month was created every second year. Julius Caesar decided to simplify things and added days to different months of the year to create the 365 day calendar, the actual calculation were made by Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes. Every fourth year following the 28th day of Februarius (February 29th) one day was to be added, making every fourth year a leap year. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII further refined the calendar with the rule that leap day would occur in any year divisible by 4 as described above.

One thought on “A Southern Girl’s View… Leap Day

  1. sandy- gary and i got married on leap year 1992 and we have often enjoyed the novelty of our anniversary 🙂 we have 4 kids and we liked to joke that for years we had 4 kids but had only been married 3 years (official anniversary dates)! i always think we should celebrate on the 28th since it is still in February but Gary like March 1st cause he thinks he gets an extra day to remember- anyhow, nice to know we share the date with you 🙂

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