What’s the Purpose of a Leap Year?
When I was a kid I remember learning that every four years we add an extra day at the end of February, and it’s called a Leap Year. However, I never knew exactly why we add the extra day (probably because I was too busy talking, and not paying attention to my teachers!)
A Leap Year (also known as a bissextile year) consists of one extra day in order to keep the calendar synchronized with the seasonal year. February 29th (which occurs every four years) is known as a Leap Day, and is added to the calendar as a corrective measure because the earth does not orbit around the sun in exactly 365 days.
The time that it takes the earth to orbit around the sun is known as a Solar Year, which is precisely 365 1/4 days. If the Calendar Year did not add an extra day, every four years we’d fall behind the Solar Year by about a day. After a century, the Solar Year and the Calendar Year would be off by 25 days.
Just think, if we didn’t observe the Leap Year, we could eventually be celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer… Just sayin’!