Leap Year

February 29th 2016
By: Natasha

This year is a Leap year – so what is a leap year? It occurs around every 4 years, the last one was on the 29 February 2012 and this year it will occur on the 29 February 2016 and it is an extra day that we add to the shortest month – February.

Leap years are needed so that we can keep to our modern day calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions or turns. It takes the earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to circle around the Sun – this is called a tropical year. But because we follow the Georgian calendar which only has 365 days of the year, it means that every 4 years approximately we have to catch up with this extra time by having to add an extra day. Apparently after 100 years if we didn’t have this extra day our calendar would be 24 days off.

Traditionally on a leap day women can ask their partners to marry them – this dates back to the 5th Century in Ireland when St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for suitors to propose. In response he gave women a single day – a leap day to ask the question. However other people who contest this reason say that it originates from Scotland when Queen Margaret, aged 5, in 1288 stated that women could propose to any man she liked on February 29th.

So what are you planning to do with your extra day? Most of us will probably have to work for free! Please let us know on our Intercounty FB pages…