What Is A Leap Year? Here's What You Need To Know About A 366-Day Calendar
Have you ever met someone who was born on Feb. 29? It's a trip, right? They only get to have a birthday every four years, and are, instead, forced to celebrate the momentous occasion on Feb. 28 or March 1 for a majority of their life. That means someone could be 24 years old, yet only have had six real birthdays. Such is the case for anyone born on the very last day of February during a leap year, which is a 366-day calendar.
While it's fun to think that people born on Feb. 29 (aka Leap Day) age extremely slowly, it's enough to make you wonder why leap years exist and why anyone would make the calendrical system so complicated. However, like so many things in this reality, it's easy to believe them as they are. I mean, have you ever asked yourself why the sky is blue? Why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west? Obviously, there are scientific explanations behind these things, but they seem so normal that you might not think to figure out why they are the way they are. If you're fed up with simply accepting the existence of leap years, here's everything you need to know about why they happen:
What Is The Point Of A Leap Year?
Let's take a look at why there are 365 days in the Gregorian calendar in the first place: It's all based on how long it takes Earth to revolve around the sun. According to TimeAndDate.com, it takes Earth 365.242189 days to make a full revolution around the sun. To make this mind-boggling number a little easier to understand, it translates to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds. However, with only 365 days in a typical calendrical year, where does the additional 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds go? It all adds up to make the extra day in a leap year.
Without a 366-day leap year taking place every four years, the Gregorian calendar would get all kinds of messed up and confusing. In fact, TimeAndDate.com mentions that without leap years, there would be an additional 24 days to account for after 100 years.
When Is The Next Leap Year?
Since the previous leap year occurred in 2016, that means you're in the next one — right now. The upcoming Feb. 29 marks the next official Leap Day, making 2020 another leap year.
Is There Anything Significant About A Leap Year?
Unless you're someone who was born on Feb. 29 and a leap year means that you get to actually celebrate your birthday on your birthday, it might not be all that significant to you. However, there are a few interesting things that always happen when a leap year takes place.
For example, during every single leap year, there is always a U.S. presidential election. (You can go out and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3.) Leap years are also when the Summer Olympics take place. (Set your calendars for Friday, July 24 to Sunday, Aug. 9.) So, even though it might not seem significant at face value, there are some pretty world-changing events that always take place during leap years.
But, naturally, the most important thing about a leap year is the Feb. 29 birthday. Of course, only a Pisces would have to go through all this confusion.
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