The origins of Leap Year

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The origins of Leap Year - Get ready to jump: Here's why we have a Feb. 29...
Get ready to jump: Here's why we have a Feb. 29 Who put the leap in leap year? We all know that a leap day is added every fourth year at the end of February in most presidential presidential election years. But why? The problem is that the calendar year of 365 days does not correspond correspond exactly to the tropical year of 365.242190 days, the actual time it takes for the Earth to rotate around the sun. Part of a day is left over each year. Julius Caesar introduced the leap year in the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. Around 10 B.C., it was ob- vipus that the priests hi charge of computing . the calendar-shad added leap years every three years four ect this error, no mor^leiipyears were addeduntilr 8 A.D. .Sfter that, they^w«re*add|d* every fourth year until the Grego-" rian calendar was introduced. The Julian calendar, averaged over four years, produced 365.25 days a year, making it too long by .0078 day a year, or roughly three- fourths of a day over a century. From Julius Caesar's time to the 16th century, the first day of spring shifted from March 23 to March 11. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII shifted the calendar to make the first day of spring March 21 and introduced a new system of leap days. Rather than inserting a leap day every fourth year, 97 leap days were introduced every 400 years. The change, averaging 365.2425 days a year, came close to the tropical tropical year. The Gregorian calendar, which is used almost universally around the world, was fine-tuned. Now, leap ,days are added every four years except in turn-of-the-century turn-of-the-century years divisible by 100 but not 400. Using this rule, 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was. The switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 required required a loss or leap over of 10 days between the actual time of year and the traditional time. The pope decreed that the day after Oct. 4,1582, would be Oct. 15,1582. Much of the populace opposed the change. They feared landlords would cheat them out of a week and a half's rent. The leap over only affected the Catholic countries countries of France, Spam, Portugal, Italy and the Catholic country- Delbert Marshall GENERATIONS states of Germany. Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland followed followed in a year or two, while Hungary Hungary adopted the leap year in 1587. The rest of Europe did not follow suit for more than a century. In 1700, the Protestant German countries adopted the Gregorian reform when the calendar trailed the seasons by 11 days. England . and the American colonies finally I 3Seep"ted if in 1752, adjusting the •calendar by skipping from VH Wednesday, Sept. 2,1752, to Thursday; Thursday; Sept. 14,1752. The change resulted resulted in widespread riots with the people demanding to be given back the 11 days. Sweden followed in 1753. Russia Russia did not accept the Gregorian calendar until 1918, when Jan. 18 was followed by Feb. 14. In fact, the Russians and Iranians follow a more accurate version that will remain in synchronization with the Gregorian calendar for thousands thousands of years. Because leap years are seen as unusual events that disturb the orderly time line, certain folklore and superstitions have been attached attached to them. Leap years, according according to folk tradition, were the only times women could propose marriage to men. This belief was termed "The Ladies' Privilege." It's unclear whether the privilege applies to Feb. 29 only or the whole year. A variant on the tradition held that a man so entreated either had to accept the proposal or pay the refused woman a substantial forfeit for turning her down, such as a silk gown or 100 pounds. In another twist, if the girl failed to wear a flannel petticoat, which was partly visible under her dress, the man would be spared both the fine and bad luck that normally followed. The origms of The.Ladies' Privilege ifi^Tibt definitely known;,ibut ohe (Version hap St Bridget^. cbrnpjainihg to /St/ Patrick about'women not being able to ask the men they fancied to marry them. According to folklore, folklore, St. Patrick initially offered a seven-year interval, but St. Bridget Bridget negotiated it down to four years coinciding with leap year. Superstition decrees that Feb. 29 is an excellent date to begin important important undertakings or business ventures. Dame Fortune also will smile on children born during that 24-hour period. ' This information was gleaned from Wolfram Research; the U.S. Naval Observatory and www. Delbert Marshall, Hays, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group. CENTENNIAL NATIONWIDE MORTCiACH-CORPORATION Serving Your Loan Needs 205 E. 13th Suite C Hays, KS Tracy Summers, Owner/Broker We would like to take this opportunity to explain what loan we can do for you. For a free confidential, no obligation consultation, please call our loan officers Tracy Summers, Peggy J. Hen-man, Stan Schremmer, Mickey Owen, Dave Brin and Landy Keller 785-623-4462 • Toll Free 866-623-4462

Clipped from
  1. The Hays Daily News,
  2. 25 Feb 2004, Wed,
  3. Page 5

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