If you were not aware, there is something special about this year. Besides this being the year our next president is elected and Brazil hosts the Summer Olympics, it is also a leap year. Though it might not seem like much, a leap year is an astronomical (no pun intended) and mathematical phenomenon.
For those people who do not know, a leap year, also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year, is a year in which one extra day is added. This is done in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year or seasonal year.
What does that exactly mean for us? America and the most of the world use the Gregorian Calendar, which typicalaly has 365 days. In a leap year an extra day is added to the end of February. This creates February 29th, as well as making the year 366 days long.
A leap year usually occurs in years that are multiples of four. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The formula for determining if a year is a leap or not is quite simple. If (year is not divisible by 4) then (it is a common year) else if (year is not divisible by 100) then (it is a leap year) else if (year is not divisible by 400) then (it is a common year) else (it is a leap year).
A person born on a leap day is often referred to as a leapling or a leaper. In common years not containing February 29th, leaplings often choose to celebrate their birthdays on February 28th or March 1st.
Happy birthday to all you leapers and leaplings out there! As for the rest of us, let’s take advantage of the extra day!