Leap Year: what are the traditions of the "long" year and where did February 29 come from?

Alina MilsentLife
Traditions of the leap year

There are many superstitions and signs associated with leap years, which makes them special. In fact, there is nothing mystical about it, and the reason for leap years is the need to align the calendar year with the solar year.

Every four years, the shortest month gets an extra day. Where did February 29 come from, what are the traditions of leap years and what are the reasons for "wedding" superstitions - read in the OBOZ.UA article.

Why leap years appeared

365 days is the time it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. In fact, this is a slightly rounded number.

Scientists have calculated that it takes 365.242190 days for the Earth to make one revolution around the Sun. This is how long a sidereal (stellar) year lasts. The extra hours accumulated to form another day.

It all started with the calendar reforms of Julius Caesar. As you know, he introduced the Julian calendar, which included a leap year, because there was a need to align the calendar year with the solar year.

In 1582, another reform took place - Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, which automatically threw everyone living according to the Christian calendar 10 days ahead. The changeover took place after the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, 1582, which was immediately followed by October 15. The Gregorian calendar preserved the leap year tradition.

Do we need leap years?

If leap years had not existed all this time, the seasons would have started to change. Scientists have calculated that for about seven centuries, summer in the northern hemisphere would have been in December instead of June.

Traditionally, it is believed that leap years occur once every four years - in fact, this is not always the case.

The difference between leap years and calendar years over a period of four years is not 23.262222 hours.

The leap year is determined by the following formula: it can be divided by four to get a whole number. And years that can be divided by 100 are not considered leap years. However, there are exceptions to this.

Let's explain: The years 1700, 1800, and 1900 could be divided by 4, but not by 400, so they were not leap years. And the year 2000 was a leap year because this number can be divided by 4 and 400. The year 2100, according to this arithmetic, will not be a leap year.

Traditions of the leap year

While in Ukraine, for some reason, it is believed that leap years are "unlucky" for weddings, other countries have different superstitions. For example, February 29 in Ireland is a bachelor's day. On this extra day of the year, women can traditionally propose marriage to men. Of course, in the modern world, you shouldn't wait for one day in four years to be able to propose, but the Irish tradition has a long history, dating back to the fifth century and is associated with the legend of St. Brigid and St. Patrick.

In Greece, however, it is not the entire leap year that is considered unfavorable for marriage, but a specific date - February 29.

The Scots have long believed that February 29 is the day of witches' covens, when evil forces can cause people harm.

Many cultures believe that the date of birth on February 29 brings a lot of happiness and success. It is said that if a child is born on a leap day, he or she will have unique talents.

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