What is Leap Year? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

What is Leap Year?

Besides out of the ordinary traditions, like women proposing in Ireland, does leap year have a real purpose?

Experts say, "Yes."

Having a White Christmas would be out of the question. You could wear bikinis on Halloween. And, the groundhog would predict more fall-like weather, not spring. Our modern calendar would be completely out of whack.

The leap year dates back to Julius Caesar and the Romans.  "It turns out that nature is not that simple.  There is an extra 1/4 day in every year.  So, the civilizations would notice that important dates, lets say the first day of Spring, would be slipping by a quarter day," said Rosa Williams, Astronomy Professor at Columbus State University.

An extra day, February 29th, was added to the calendar every four years.  This day is called Leap Day.

But, during the Renaissance, they found out it was not that simple either.  "There are actually 365.2422, and some days, per year.  So, Pope Gregory added another rule."

The modern calendar follows this rule: Any year that is evenly divided by four is a leap year, except turn of the century years that are not also divisible by 400.

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