Leap Year: Why February gains extra day every 4 years

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Editor : Esma Didem Şimşek
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The concept of a leap year, where an extra day is added to February every four years, stems from the Earth's orbital period around the Sun

Leap Year: Why February gains extra day every 4 years

To understand why a leap year in February occurs every four years, we must first consider the time it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. It takes approximately 365.2422 days for the Earth to make one full orbit, that is, to complete one year.

In the Western calendar, which was started in the first century, a year is practically determined as 365 days.

However, since a year has 365.2422 days, an extra day is added every four years. The year containing this extra day is called a "leap year." This arrangement keeps the calendar in sync with the rotation of the earth and the seasons.

The reason for adding a day in February of a leap year dates back to the first century B.C.

Roman leader Julius Caesar commissioned astronomers to develop the Roman calendar. The Roman calendar consisted of 355 days, with a 22-day month added every two years. However, this calendar utterly lost the harmony between the seasons.

In the calendar prepared under the instructions of Julius Caesar, a year was determined as 365 days, and one day was added every four years. This additional day took place in February, creating a leap year.

Though leap years maintain the alignment of seasons, Feb. 29 is particularly significant for those born on this rare day and carries various cultural associations.

In some cultures, this day is believed to bring luck, while in others, it is considered bad luck.

According to statistics, the probability of a baby born on Feb. 29 is 1 in 1461. Approximately 4.1 million people worldwide are born on Feb. 29.

Source: BBC


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