Leaping Into March

I don’t get Leap Year.

I know what it is and why we do it—while we pretend the earth revolves around the sun every 365 days, it actually takes 365 days and six hours.  Six hours over four years adds up to an extra 24 hour day.  If we didn’t add that day back in, the calendar would slowly become out of sync with the earth’s natural rhythms and our weather would no longer makes sense with the seasons—ie eventually we’d be sweating in February because it would’ve slid into former July territory.

It’s a little more complicated than that—but for our purposes sufficient.

So I get why we have to add an extra day—but why in the world do we call it the “leap day” in a “leap year?”

To me, leaping means you are skipping over something—we should have one less day in leap year, not one more. 

Am I crazy here?

Every four years, I’ve always briefly wondered about this fact.

But this year, because (1) I am in need of a blog topic, and (2) Google exists, I decided to look it up.

Three clicks later I had the answer…can I get a drumroll please?

Each year, every day shifts one day of the week.  Confusing, right?  So let’s pick a specific day—say, Christmas.  We all know that one.

If Christmas is on a Wednesday one year, it’s on a Thursday the next year. 

But on leap year, we’ve added a day, and thus Christmas will move from a Wednesday to a Friday, therefore “leaping” over Thursday for the year.

This happens to every holiday.  Every day is “leaping over” a day of the week. 

Hence, it’s the “Leap Year.”

Too bad 2019 wasn’t a Leap Year.  We had Christmas and New Year’s Day on Wednesday, which is the worst when trying to use your vacation days to stretch out the week.  So this year, we’ve got Christmas and New Year’s Day on Fridays, which is great.

But we leaped over a Friday Independence Day, and Friday is ideal for a summer day off work with fireworks and a picnic. 

You win some, you lose some.

So there you go…leap year.  A lifelong mystery solved.

I’ve gotta say, it was a little anticlimactic.

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