About Leap Year
There are 12 months in the Gregorian calendar (the current standard calendar for most of the world). A common year consists of 365 calendar days as opposed to a leap year which has 366 days. A Leap Day is added nearly every 4 years to the Gregorian calendar. However, a Leap Day is not added EVERY 4 years - 3 criteria need to be met. See when is Leap Year for additional critia.
For most Leap Years, a popular children's rhyme holds true:
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February has twenty-eight alone,
All the rest have thirty-one,
that's the time
When February's days are twenty-nine.
Leap Year is a year containing one extra day in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year - alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a period of 365 days is shorter than a solar year by almost 6 hours. This extra day is added to February. February has 29 days in a Leap Year. February 29 is called Leap Day. There are several folklores associated with February 29th, including St. Bridget's Complaint - all related to women proposing marriage to men. In some countries, Leap Day is also known as "Bachelors' Day."
Over 2000 years ago, Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years to the Julian calendar. Back then, a day was added to the calendar every 4 years. This lead to too many leap years and didn't get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian calendar (more than 1500 years later).
One Leap Year is equivalent to:
- 1.003 years (366/365 years)
- 366 days
- 8784 hours
- 527,040 minutes
- 31,622,400 seconds
Leap Year in other calendars:
Leap Year Activities and Games