AV Alerts
  • April 15Tax Day - (04/15)
  • April 22Earth Day & Passover - (04/22)
  • April 28PPIE Run for Education - (04/28)
The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

Demystifying leap years: Why does February get special treatment?

Those+born+on+Feb.+29%2C+known+as+leaplings+or+leapers%2C+age+at+a+rate+of+one+year+for+every+four+calendar+years%2C+making+it+the+rarest+birthday+of+all.
Zenil Koovejee
Those born on Feb. 29, known as “leaplings” or “leapers,” age at a rate of one year for every four calendar years, making it the rarest birthday of all.

In the grand symphony of the universe, time dances to its own rhythm. But, just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, along comes a leap year to shake things up! 

And lo and behold, 2024 marks such an occasion, where February acquires an extra day to sustain the alignment of our calendar.

“I think leap years are kinda cool. Like, it’s this extra day that just pops up every four years. It’s like a bonus day for us to do something special or just chill out,” said Foothill ASB Club Coordinator Akash Goda (‘24). 

The concept of leap years stems from Earth’s orbital eccentricities. While our planet completes its journey around the sun in roughly 365.25 days, our calendar recognizes only whole numbers. Without corrective measures, the calendar would gradually drift out of alignment with the astronomical seasons.

“Imagine celebrating Christmas in July or Halloween in spring – now that would be a weird world. That’s why, whether we like them or not, we need to have leap years every once in a while,” said United Kingdom student Kehilan Maniram.

To rectify this discrepancy, ancient civilizations, notably the Egyptians, devised methods to synchronize their calendars with celestial cycles. They observed that an extra day added every four years could compensate for the fractional portion of a day accrued annually.

“Leap years are unquestionably integral. Their necessity is based on some very precise mathematics, calculations, and research spanning eons,” said science enthusiast Ramesh Baichand.

This system, known as the leap year, is incorporated into the Gregorian calendar that we employ today. By appending an additional day to February every four years, we reconcile the temporal disparity and maintain seasonal consistency.

The transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar was vital. By refining the leap year rule, the Gregorian calendar reduces the annual error to mere seconds. So, the length of our calendar year is closer to the actual solar year,” said Baichand

However, the rhythm of leap years is not without its occasional irregularities. While most years divisible by four are leap years, those divisible by 100 are exceptions unless they are also divisible by 400.

“It’s sometimes confusing to think about. But, I love how leap years give us an extra day to spend with our loved ones. It’s like a bonus day to make memories,” said Maniram. 

In essence, leap years serve as a pragmatic solution to harmonize human timekeeping with the cosmic cadence. While the mechanism may appear intricate, its purpose remains fundamental: to uphold the coherence of our calendar amidst the ever-unfolding passage of time.

Leave a Comment
Donate to AmadorValleyToday
$50
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists in the AVJournalism program. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
Donate to AmadorValleyToday
$50
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All AmadorValleyToday Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *