Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year!!

This year there is a February 29th, and it only happens every four years. Why do we do this??

It takes the Earth this long to circle the Sun: 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds. (So, almost six hours more than 365 days).
The end result is that we lose 6 hours a year. Thus, 6 hours x 4 years=24 hours. So, if we didn't add a day to the calendar, then every four years we'd lose a day. In 100 years, we would 'lose' 24 days.
We know to plan for Leap Year every 4 years. But, let's throw in some more math:
  • A Leap Year can be evenly divided by 4
  • If it can be evenly divided by 100, it is not a Leap Year UNLESS...
  • It can also be evenly divided by 400. If both are true, then it is a Leap Year.
  • These years are Leap Years because they are divisible by 400 and 100:2000, 2400
  • These years are NOT Leap Years because you can't divide them evenly by 400 and 100:1900, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500

More on the Gregorian Calendar here:
If you're not completely confused, did you know there was such a thing as Chinese leap months??

It used to be unacceptable for a woman to propose marriage to a man. It's believed this started in 5th century Ireland, when St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait for a man to propose. The legend is that St. Patrick would allow women to propose to men on February 29 only: once every four years.

There is an opera called "Pirates of Penzance." The story is this:

The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic soon learns, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His indenture specifies that he remain apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday and that he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic's only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.


Enjoy Leap Day!!!

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