It’s Leap Day! Here’s the history behind it

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It’s Leap Day! Here’s the history behind it

Every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar in order to synchronize it with the solar year.

It takes the earth 365.242 days to orbit the Sun. For this reason, the full day is only added once every four years.

The extra day, called leap day or intercalary day, is added at the end of February, giving it 29 days instead of 28.

Leap year occurs in every year that is divisible by four and only in century years that are evenly divided by 400. For example, 800, 1200, 2000 were leap years but 1700 and 1900 were not because they are not divisible by 400, even though they are divisible by four.

The practice of adding the extra day began with the creation of the Julian calendar and a decree by Julius Caesar in the year 46 B.C. The Julian calendar creates an extra day every four years, and does not follow the century-divisible-by-400 rule so there is still an 11-minute, 14-second discrepancy each year.

The 11-minute discrepancy in the Julian calendar had added up to ten days by the year 1582 A.D. so Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar and dropped ten days from the month of October. He also established February 29 as the official date to add during a leap year, coined the term leap year, and created the rules for adding the leap year.

Currently the solar year is approximately 26 seconds shorter than the Gregorian year.
In the U.S., leap year coincides with presidential election years.
 

Source

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Did You Know This Is A Leap Year?

Rotwild im Winter
Leap Day: February 29, 2016

A Leap Day, February 29, is added to the calendar during leap years. This extra day makes the year 366 days long – not 365 days, like a common year.

On February 29th, women can ask a man to marry her.

Role reversal on leap day.

When Is the Next Leap Day?
2016 is a leap year, so the next leap day is February 29, 2016.

The last Leap Day was on February 29, 2012.

Why Add a Leap Day?
Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun.
It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This called a tropical year.

Without an extra – or intercalary – day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days in relation to fixed seasonal days days like the vernal equinox or winter solstice.

Caesar Introduced Leap Years
Roman general Julius Caesar implemented the first leap day in his Julian Calendar, which he introduced in 45 BCE (Before Common Era). A leap day was added every four years. At the time, leap day was February 24, and February was the last month of the year.

Too Many Leap Years
However, adding a leap day every four years was too often and eventually, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar. This calendar, which we still use today, has a more precise formula for calculating of leap years, also known as bissextile years.

USA 1752: Why Are Some Days Missing?

Traditions & Folklore

Leap day as a concept has existed for more than 2000 years, and is still associated with age-old customs, folklore and superstition. One of the most well-known traditions is that women propose to their boyfriends, instead of the other way around.

What’s a Leap Second?

Leap Months

The ancient Roman Calendar added an extra month every few years to maintain the correct seasonal changes, similar to the Chinese leap month.

 

Source:
timeanddate.com

The 17th Day Before Yule – Saturnalia


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Saturnalia Begins

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”

In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.

Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects. The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius’s work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25

About the Month of July

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About the Month of July

Until 44 B.C. this month was called Quintilis; it was renamed in honor of the murdered Julius Caesar, who had been born on the 12th. In 46 B.C.E. the previous Roman calendar dar was reorganized with the help of Alexandrian sages to form the new Julian calendar. After a year of chaos and confusion created by the change, the Julian calendar remained the main calendar in the West for the next 1,600 years, when it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar.

This middle-of-the-Summer month is a time of sudden storms and hay-making and is associated with the hot and sultry try “dog-days,” when the Sirius-Canciula (the Dog-Star) rises with the sun, often associated with the Goddess Demeter.

July is a fun-filled month with church fetes, family gatherings, ings, smoky barbecues, and celebrations that include St. Mary Magdalen, patroness of prostitutes; Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and the patroness of housewives; and St. Wilgefortis, who supposedly sprouted an immense beard overnight night to rid herself of suitors chosen by her father. Magickally, July is a time of personal growth, learning new ways to be creative, and cultivating friendships.

OK, Let’s take a break, It’s Leap Year, So What Does It Mean To You?

’Leap Day’ is February 29, which is an extra (intercalary) day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a common (normal) year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.

Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BCE (Before Common Era), Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore.

Women propose to their men

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition. 

World Record of Leap Day Babies

People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are world record holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.

Bad luck

In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day, just like Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.

St Oswald’s Day

Leap Day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on February 29 during Leap Years and on February 28 during common years.