How do you explain to your kiddos why there’s one extra day this year? Well, it’s actually really simple (especially if they know how to count). Leap Year is all keeping the calendar in sync with how long it takes the earth to completely orbit the sun. And fun fact: It takes more than 365 days.

The earth actually takes almost 6 more hours to make its way around sun. Add those extra hours up and every four years you have an extra day, which is where Feb 29th comes from.

photo: iStock

The story of Leap Year goes way back to Julius Caesar, who added an extra day to February (this was the last month of the year back then) over 2,000 years ago. However, his math wasn’t precise, and this wasn’t corrected until the Georgian calendar, which has a mathematical formula that keeps leap years in check. Yep, that means not every four years is necessarily a leap year! In layman’s terms, if the year is divisible by 100 but not 400, it’s not a leap year (e.g. 1900).

What does this mean if we didn’t have Leap Year? Well, dates would slowly shift and the eventually seasons would be way off. That could mean celebrating 4th of July in the dead of winter!

––Christal Y.

 

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