Why do we have leap years?
As you know, a leap year is a year in which an extra day is added to the end of February every four years. One complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes approximately 365.2422 days, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days.
So leap seconds – and leap years – are added as a way to keep our calendars (and our clocks) in sync with the Earth and its seasons.
If you want to get technical, a leap year isn’t really every four years.
The year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not.
There is a leap year every year that is divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400.
According to the Telegraph, the added rule about centuries (versus just every four years) was an additional fix to make up for the fact that an extra day every four years is too much of a correction.
So, is February 29 a bank holiday?
Sorry, folks. Not yet. However, there is a campaign to make Feb. 29 a bank holiday because workers are beginning to realize that each leap year, they have to work one extra day without extra pay.
The mastermind behind this realization is known as Karl Savage – a high school teacher from Maryland. In 2008 Savage led an international movement called the “No Work on Leap Day Revolution.”
What exactly is a leap second?
Leap years are not directly connected to leap seconds as one might would think. Leap seconds are added to bring the earth’s rotation into line with atomic time.
A leap second was reportedly added at the end of June last year when, immediately before midnight, dials read 11:59:60.
While atomic time is constant, the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down by two thousandths of a second per day. Leap seconds are therefore crucial to ensuring that the time we use doesn’t drift away from time based on the Earth’s spin. For example, networks such as Mozilla, Yelp, LinkedIn, and Foursquare all reported crashes when a leap second was added in 2012.
What if Feb. 29 is your birthday?
The actual chances of having a leap birthday are one in 1,461. Those who are born on Feb. 29 are known as “leaplings” or “leapers.”
In the non-leap years, many leapers choose to celebrate their birthday on either Feb. 28 or March 1, while other die-hard leapers prefer to wait the extra four years for Feb. 29 to roll back around.
According to the Telegraph, about 4.1 million people around the world would have been born on the 29th.
What deals can you get out of this?
The best part of this strange once-every-four-years holiday are the deals:
- Arby’s is offering a special vegetarian menu all day.
- Krispy Kreme is graciously giving away a second dozen box of glazed doughnuts for just $2.29
- Urban Outfitters will be having a $29 sale section on the UO website.
- Travelocity is offering $29 off of a $229 hotel with the code LEAP29 and $129 off of a $1229 hotel and flight deal with the code LEAP129
- Hungry Howie’s is also offering a one-topping large pizza for 29 cents with the purchase of another large one or more topping pizza, with the promo code LEAP29
And, if it’s your birthday Olive Garden, Giant Eagle, Buca Di Peppo, Hard Rock Cafe, and Pizza Hut are also offering customers – with a photo I.D. – some pretty great deals.
[Photo by Pixabay]