Leap Day 2024: Celebrating the quirks of time

File photo for illustration purposes. Photo credit: Flickr/iamsuperkane

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Feb 29: Today marks a rare occurrence – Feb 29, a leap day that comes only once every four years. As the world celebrates this unique phenomenon, it’s worth delving into the tradition, history, and science behind this extra day in our calendar.

As per Wikipedia, a leap year involves adding an extra day to the Gregorian calendar, which is widely used across the globe. In a regular year, there are 365 days, while in a leap year, there are 366 days.

The extra day, Feb 29, is added to the month of February. In a normal year, February has 28 days, but in a leap year, it has 29. The extra day, known as a leap day, falls on the same day of the week as the first of the month, February 1.

Leap Back in Time: A Brief History Lesson

According to online sources, the concept of leap years dates back to ancient civilizations, with early attempts to synchronise calendars with the solar year. The Egyptians were among the first to adopt a leap year system, introducing an extra month to their lunar calendar every few years to keep it aligned with the seasons. However, it was Julius Caesar who implemented the Julian calendar in 45 BCE, which included the leap year rule as we know it today.

The Cosmic Ballet: Why Leap Years Exist

Online sources also explained that the heart of leap years lies in a cosmic dance between Earth and the Sun—a celestial waltz that takes approximately 365.25 days to complete. However, our Gregorian calendar recognises only 365 days in a year, leading to a discrepancy of nearly a quarter of a day every year. Over time, these extra fractions add up, throwing our calendar out of sync with the seasons.

To correct this misalignment, we introduce a leap year approximately every four years. By adding an extra day to the calendar—Feb 29—we realign our human-made timekeeping with the rhythms of the cosmos. It’s like giving our calendar a cosmic tune-up, ensuring that our schedules stay in harmony with the natural world.

But why February, of all the months, to host this extra day? February, with its underdog status among the months, seemed the perfect candidate for this quirk of timekeeping. Its role as the host of Leap Day adds a touch of eccentricity to an otherwise mundane calendar.

2024: A Leap Year Extravaganza

So, why is 2024 a leap year? Well, it all comes down to the mathematical gymnastics of our calendar system. The rule for determining leap years is surprisingly simple: If a year is evenly divisible by 4, it’s a leap year, unless it’s also divisible by 100.

Fortunately, 2024 meets the criteria for a leap year with flying colours. As a year divisible by 4, it earns its place in the leap year club, providing us with an extra day to celebrate the mysteries of time.

Leap into Adventure: Celebrating Leap Day 2024

As we bid farewell to Feb 29, 2024, let’s embrace the spirit of this extra day with enthusiasm.

Whether indulging in leap day-themed festivities, embarking on new adventures, or simply relishing the novelty of an additional 24 hours, let’s make the most of this unique occasion. — DayakDaily