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Leap Year

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             Leaping Bunny

Let’s face it, nearly every four years there is a leap year and it goes by without much thought. Well this year I thought to myself what is really behind this phenomenon? According to Wikipedia a leap year, also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year, is a year containing one additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track.

The name “leap year” comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in the leap year will advance two days due to the extra day added at the end of February, thus “leaping over” one of the days in the week.

Leap years are needed to keep our modern Gregorian 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 make one revolution around the sun. Since the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. It would only take about 100 years for our calendar to0 be off by around 24 days.

Which years need that added day? Well in order for a leap year to happen it generally must meet these criteria:

1. The year can be evenly divided by 4.

2. If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is not a leap year unless; the year is also divisible by 400, then it is a leap year.

What do we do on Leap Day? Leap day February 29 has many traditions associated with it since it was first introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

Irish legend says St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. In some places, leap day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on leap day. In many European countries, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on this day has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves so that she may hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year.

In February 1988 the town of Anthony in Texas, declared itself the “leap year capital of the world”, and an international leaping birthday club was started.

In the villages of southern Germany, there is a tradition of boys putting up a small May tree in their love interest’s back garden during the night before May Day. In leap years, however, it becomes the girls’ turn to put up the trees.

If you need to get a May tree to place in your love interest's garden, look no further than Tree In A Box.  We have grow your own tree from seed kits and tree seedlings that would make lovely additions to any yard.

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