What Exactly is a Leap Year?

And What About Those Born on Feburary 29?

Mix 97-3

Taylor Parmley, Staff Reporter

This year, 2020, we have a leap year. A leap year occurs every four years when there is an extra day in February, so instead of 28 days there is 29.

But, why have a leap year? And how do we gain an extra day?

We have a Gregorian Calendar system which was created in the year 1538 to keep the calendar in alignment with Earth’s rotations around the Sun. Each year is 365 days long, a tropical year is 365.242189 days long and a leap year is 366 days long. If leap years were never created, we would lose six hours off of our calendar every year.  Eventually after 100 years, we would lose 24 days off of our year! Ancient Roman calendars keep leap months. So every four years, they would add an entire month to their year to keep the seasons in balance.

What about those born on February 29 during a leap year?

According to Time and Date website, there are currently only 187,000 people in the United States who are “leap-lings” and about four million in the whole world. Not only are “leap-lings” rare, their birthdays are only once every four years, so different people have different ways of celebrating their birthday on non leap years.

From NPR website, “Usually on my non-leap year birthdays, I just do a casual dinner. But this year, since I’ll be turning 6, I’m having a ’90s-themed party at a roller rink. You have to go big because you only get a birthday every four years,”  explained Emily Clayton from Texas.

So how old are people who have leap year birthdays?

Take their leap year age and multiply that by four. So if someone says they are 6 years old, like Mrs. Clayton from Texas, they are 24 years old.  6 x 4 = 24

The next leap year will be in 2024, so during that leap year think of all the babies that will have a birthday every four years and of King George who helped keep our yearly calendar on track!