~~ 29 February 2020 ~~ Leap Day and Leap Year

by tkbrown

What is Leap Year, Leap Day? Why do we have them?

Prior to the establishment of the Julian Calendar in 45 B.C., there were no Leap Days or Leap Years. When Julius Caesar implemented the current calendar, he added ten days to the 355-day year in the Roman Calendar. He also changed the date of New Year’s Day from March 1 to January 1 and added a leap day every four years.

The Roman Calendar embraced a ten-month, 355-day year based on the lunar cycle. Each month had three phases: Kalends, or the ‘new moon’ coincided with the first of the month; Nones, defined by the first quarter-moon occurred on the fifth or seventh day of the month; Ides, the first full moon designated either the 13th or the 15th day of the month. Then, with the next Kalends, a new month began.

New Year’s Day in the Roman Calendar occurred on March 1 instead of the Julian Calendar’s January 1. The New Year’s Day Celebration, however, occurred on March 15th (during the first full moon) instead of March 1st (the actual New Year’s beginning day). The full moon probably made partying more enjoyable by increasing visibility. Celebrations included food, music and other festivities.

Then came the Gregorian Calendar with skipped days and relived days to really confuse things. First introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII — for whom it is named. According to http://www.timeanddate.com, it is the most widely used Calendar around the world. Catholic countries adopted the calendar quickly with Spain, Portugal and Italy Leading the Group. It has been adopted by the international standard for Representation of date and times, (Hocken, 2017).

Protestant countries were leery of adopting the new calendar, fearing it to be a way of silencing the Protestant movement. Two hundred years after it was introduced, an Act of Parliament declared it to be the new Calendar for England and the (then) colonies, and the date immediately changed from September 2 to September 14, 1752, (Hocken, 2017).

Hocken on http://www.timeanddate.com quotes Benjamin Franklin, who “famously wrote about the switch in his almanac. ‘ . . . And what an indulgence is here, for those who love their pillow to lie down in Peace on the second of this month and not perhaps awake till the morning of the fourteenth.'” (Quoted by timeanddate.com from Cowan, 29; Irwin, 98).

“Orthodox countries followed the Julian calendar even longer, and their national churches have still not adopted Pope Gregory XIII’s calendar,” (Hoken, 2017).

Leap Year and Leap Day come with heaps of folk-lore attached. Leap Year, commonly known as an open opportunity for the woman to propose marriage to her love, does not encourage marriage that same year. It is supposedly unlucky for couples to marry during Leap Year.

Tell me what YOU think!


Hocken, Vigdis. (14 November 2017). “Leap Day Customs & Traditions.” Time and Date AS. (28 February 2020). https://www.timeanddate.com/date/leap-day-february-29,html.

Hocken, Vigdis. (14 November 2017). “The Gregorian Calendar.” Time and Date AS. (28 February 2020). https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html.

By tkbrown

I believe family is a gift from God and should be treated as such. I love writing with a broad array of intent and purpose. I have written poetry virtually all my life, and much nonfiction in academia. My expanded efforts in all areas have finally taken off in retirement. I have much to accomplish now that I have the time. Other hobbies are painting, researching ancestry and myriad topics for my writing, knitting, crocheting, cooking -- always trying new recipes and always cooking for my health. I have many other hobbies, but these seem to dominate most of my time. Oh, did I mention I am the mother of three grown children and grandmother of seven. I have been blessed immensely and am the happier for it.https://twitter.com/tkbrownwriter/photo


    1. Thank You for the follow, the like and the comment. Yes, you are right. As one blogger said, “when ‘leaplings’ are 84, they can always argue they are truly only 21.” That has to be the ultimate “Forever Young!” Thank You for stopping by. Please stop by often to peruse my posts. Tell me what you like and what you dislike! I look forward to hearing from you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. If people don’t like moving their clocks ahead or back for the change to daylight savings time, I can only imagine how annoyed they’d be by a leap from the 2nd of September to the 14th! People would miss birthday celebrations.
    As for me, I do try to take advantage of the “extra day.” I’m mindful of filling it with things and people I love, as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You for such an accurate assessment of the situation. I, too, try to fill the day with productive and enjoyable activities with and for special people in my life. Thank You, Arlene, for stopping by. It has been my pleasure! Have a Blessed Day!

      Liked by 1 person

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