Leap Year

February 24, 2012

This year we have the pleasure of enjoying an extra day to accomplish our goals, as it is a Leap Year. Lore insists that Julius Caesar introduced leap year in the Roman Empire 2000 years ago. The purpose for adding this extra day was to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year. This means that the Earth’s revolutions around the sun do not equal 365 days exactly, so by adding an extra day nearly every four years we can keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions. If we didn’t do this, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year and 24 days off our calendar every 100 years!

During Julius Caesar’s time, the only rule for determining a leap year was that the year had to be divisible by four. This created too many leap years; therefore, the rule was eventually corrected. In the Gregorian calendar, three criteria must be met in order for a year to be a leap year:

1. The year is evenly divisible by four.

2. If the year is evenly divisible by 100, it is not a leap year unless…

3. The year is also evenly divisible by 400.

This means that the years 1800, 1900, and 2000 were not leap years, nor will 2100, 2200, 2300, 2400, or 2500 be.

Countries often created their own traditions to explain or celebrate these special years. One that goes back centuries states that on a leap year, woman had the opportunity to propose marriage to men instead of the other way around. However, if a man refused the proposal he owed the woman a kiss and a silk gown, as long as she was wearing a red petticoat at the time of the proposal.

What traditions will you create on this special day, during this special year? Will you take advantage of this extra day to accomplish a goal you’ve been putting off? Will you use the extra time to finish a task you’ve been procrastinating? Perhaps you will use this day to reach out to a loved one you’ve lost touch with. What ever you do, make sure to capitalize on the extra 24 hours you’ve been given!

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The Lewisville Dentist - Dr. Natalie Goodman, DDS
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