Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year Day!

Can I say that? "Happy Leap Year Day!" Of course I'm talking about today, February 29, 2008 - a day that exists only every fourth year. Crazy huh?! I've always wondered how people born on this day celebrate their birthdays. Do they wait another four years to party? Does that mean that a baby born today won't turn 2 until 2012? provides a semi-answer: "So when do you celebrate, anyway? The question we love to hate... Are you a strict Februarian? Do you celebrate on the last day of February, because that's when you were born??? We have found most Leapers celebrate in February, but there are some die hard partiers among the honored that celebrate on every day possible."

Searching for more information about this diffident "holiday," I found this at Leap days, technically known as intercalary days, are calendar corrections. Despite what you have been taught, there are not 365 days in a year. There are precisely 365.2425 days, which means we gain a day every four years. An exception: fdCentury years cannot be leap years unless they are evenly divisible by 400. In 45 B.C., Emperor Julius Caesar added a Leap Day occurring every four years to the calendar he created. Until then, calendars were a mess.

For a more astronomical explanation, I checked out Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun. The vernal equinox is the time when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator, moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The mean time between two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year–also known as a solar year–and is about 365.2422 days long. Using a calendar with 365 days every year would result in a loss of 0.2422 days, or almost six hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days ahead of the season (tropical year), which is not desirable or accurate. It is desirable to align the calendar with the seasons and to make any difference as insignificant as possible. By adding a leap year approximately every fourth year, the difference between the calendar and the seasons can be reduced significantly, and the calendar will align with the seasons much more accurately. (The term "day" is used to mean "solar day"–which is the mean time between two transits of the sun across the meridian of the observer.)

How about adding a dash of superstition? Did you know that, in some Euro-Anglo cultures (and America), February 29th is a day when women can propose to single men? More info at

But do you know what makes today so special? Ella turns 14 months old today! My baby's growing up so fast! Wahh! Well, I can't really complain all that much because I'm having so much fun hanging out with her. She's a bundle of energy these days and absolutely filled with sass and attitude. But all she has to do is smile at us or run to give us a big hug, and her daddy and I turn to mush.

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