Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day 2012!

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, she alone, hath eight days and a score;
Till Leap Year gives  her one.
Today is the first Leap Day, after I started blogging on 20th April 2009. And I thought I should write here of whatever little I know about Leap Year and Leap Day in specific, and wish you all a Happy Today – “A Happy Leap Day!”. Little excited about the significance of today; I also posted some interesting information about Leap day on facebook, which you can see in the clipping at the top of this article.
If we did not have Leap Years our Calendars would have misbehaved, especially with respect to Seasons. This is because Earth doesn’t circle the Sun in exactly 365 days but it takes 365.2425 days. Those extra hours/days add up to almost a full day, every four years and hence an extra day, a Leap Day (29th February), every four years, and a year of 366 days. Without this extra adjustment, the seasons would gradually slip out of pattern with the Calendar. The concept of Leap Day has been in existence for more than 2000 years. It is said to be introduced during the rule of Julius Caesar around 46 B.C., and this Julian Calendar was improvised to perfection in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian Calendar, with its first Leap Year in 1584, and this we are following without any hitches till date!
The following rules of the Gregorian Calendar decide which years are Leap Years:
ü  Every year divisible by 4 is a Leap Year
ü  But every year divisible by 100 is not a Leap Year
ü  Unless the year is also divisible by 400, then it is still a Leap Year
The Leap Year and Leap Day are associated with some age-old traditions, folklore and superstitions. One such is a very popular Irish tradition of women proposing marriage! Which seems to have now picked up all over the world!
Good Luck to all bachelors!

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