Why Do We Have Leap Years?

2020 is a leap year! ñ Skrikkel jaa soes baie hom ken. It happens every four years, the last one was 2016 and the next one will be 2024.

A common or non-leap year has 365 days, therefore, February ends on the 28th. A leap year has 366 days. An extra day in February is added to the Gregorian Calendar, which is the calendar we use.

According to EarthSky, the Earth takes 365.25 days to orbit the Sun which means there’s a random 0.25 or a quarter of a day after each orbit. During common years, the extra quarter of a day is not being accounted for which proves that the calendar year is faster than the solar year (amount of time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun). Leap days are added to help the calendar synchronize with the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, allowing the seasons to pass.

If no correction is made, over time the solar year will be ahead of the calendar year. To make an example, without the correction, the calendar year would be off by about one day after the four years have passed, leading to 25 days after 100 years. This means that winter, in the Southern Hemisphere, would then start in July instead of June. Eventually, our winter will become summer and vice versa.

According to the Gregorian calendar these years will be leap years: 2020 2024 2028 2032 2036 2040 2044 2048 2052 2056 2060 2064 2068 2072 2076 2080 2084 2088 2092 2096 2104 2108 2112 2116 2120 2124 2128 2132 2136 2140 2144 2148 2152.

The Gregorian Calendar is moderately being adopted since 1582 because it is a “civil” international standard for various countries.

Fun facts

Did you know? There is a 1 in 1500 chance of someone being born on 29 February. Soe vi die wat oppie 29ste February vejaa, die jaa kan ôs wee vi julle Happy Birthday sing!

Did you know? According to an Irish legend, women can propose to men in a leap year. It is said to balance the traditional roles of men and women in the same way the leap day balances the calendar.

Basically, a Leap year gives you a whole day extra to dala the most, so don’t waste it!