A small step for Augustus, a leap of a year for mankind

You might have been the one out of every 1461 people on the planet to celebrate their brithday yesterday. Go Leapling, I say!

But if you were born before twelve o’clock, there are people who are agitating to lump you with the February 28th babies and if you were born after mid-day then you are a March 1st baby according to the same bunch. I think it is time all 4 mill. (approx) leaplings mount a campaign of their own. I mean, the only reason you were born on the 29th was because the pompous Augustus Caesar stole 2 days from February to make his own name month as long as that of Julius. Surely, that deserves a little movement of its own?

But where did the extra day come from in the first place? The earth takes a little more than 365 days each time it orbits the sun. Over four years those quarters add up and you end up with an extra day. That is the 366th day of a leap year. And why is it called a leap year? Well, you did not ask any of these questions but you may have the answers any way.

It comes from the way days skip a day or ‘leap’ two days after these 366 day years. For example 26th January fell on Tuesday this year. In 2015 it had fallen on Monday. The year before in 2014 it had fallen on a Sunday and in 2013 it was on a Saturday. But in 2012, which was a leap year, it fell not on a Friday but two days earlier, on a Thursday; see the pattern? Next year, the 26th of January will be on a….Thursday!

You are welcome.

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