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Why Is February So Odd This Year?

Team StoryWeavers|February 29, 2020|

Knock knock!

Who’s there?

Itsa.

Itsa who?

It’s a leap year!

We apologize for that terrible knock-knock joke, but we can’t help it! We’re super excited about the leap year 2020!

Isn’t it fascinating that once every four years, our calendars get an additional day in February? Why do we add this day? Why does February have to adjust? And what happens to the people born in a leap year?

Don’t worry, we have you covered, on these burning questions! To make sure we have the whole picture, we asked different subjects what they knew about the leap year. Read their answers below to become a total calendar pro!

Did you know?
Every leap year has a Summer Olympics Game and a US Presidential Election!

First, we went to the subject who is most popular for leap years – Geography. We asked, why do leap years exist?

Geography: The Earth’s revolution around the sun takes 365.2422 or 365 and ¼ days. This means that every year, there is a hidden quarter day that doesn’t get reflected on our calendars. To make sure our calendar stays on track with the Earth’s revolution around the sun, we need to add an extra day every four years!

Next, to know what will happen if your calendars are not in sync with the Earth’s revolution, we went to our trusted friend, Science.

Science: If our calendars are not in sync with the Earth’s revolution, then we would not be able to track seasons properly. Eventually, we would start having summers in November and winters in May! This would throw farming into a tizzy and it would be very difficult to know when to plant the right crops!

Who knew an extra day had such a big impact!

But we had a sneaky feeling that we’re missing something with the numbers when it comes to a leap year. So naturally, we went to the best problem solver- Maths. We asked, do we ever skip a leap year?

Maths: Since the Earth’s revolution is 365.2422 days and not 365.25 days, the extra day every year is not a neat quarter. So, to make sure that our calendars are absolutely right, we skip leap years that are divisible by 100. But, if the leap year is divisible by both 100 and 400 then it stays!

You can trust Maths to always have a simple formula, can’t you!

But that still leaves one very important question unanswered. Why is the extra day added to February and not other months? We thought History with all their information on the past would know.

And we were right!

History: The second king of the Roman Empire, Numa Pompilius, started the first 355-day calendar. But the ancient Romans believed that even numbers were unlucky! So every month had 29 or 31 days. However, to make the calendar a total of 355 days, one month had to be even. Since February was the last month in this early calendar it was chosen to have 28 days! Later, when Julius Caeser made the first 365-day calendar, he decided to leave February with 28 days and add an extra day to keep it on track with the Earth’s revolution.

Now that’s a fascinating story!

Lastly, to find out how do people born on leap days calculate their birthday we asked the subject who knew the most about rules and laws – Civics.

Civics: People born on February 29 are called “leapers” or “leaplings”. While they can celebrate their birthday on February 29, their legal birthday is often either February 28 or March 1! This date becomes important to calculate when they can get their driving license and when they can vote.

Every subject gave us something new to learn about the leap year! You can now flaunt this fascinating information to all your friends and become a calendar pro!

Read more stories like these:

Can NASA Scientists Dig A Hole On Mars?

Taal Volcano: The What, Why and its Effects

Lessons From The Most Famous Mountaineer In The World

How Much Maths Can Animals Do?

About the Author


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Deepthi Chakravarthy

Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at storyweavers@byjus.com for anything you may like to share.

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