Leap Years- What, When, Why?


Jacob Houser, Writer

If it wasn’t already made to be known, this year is a leap year. They happen once every four years- and it’s a year that has 366 days instead of 365- which should be classified as torture because 365 days is already enough to handle. Every leap year, you get an extra day tacked on to February, giving it 29 instead of 28, and 366 days on the year instead of 365. Most people don’t know we get an extra day of school during leap years, and some probably don’t even know what a leap year is. 

Leap years are like, totally definitely cool. They are an integral part of keeping the Gregorian calendar intact. It takes 365.25 days to revolve around the sun, so naturally, every four years we get an extra day so as to not throw the entire calendar off (if they never made leap years we might have had Summer in December). Their rarity as well as the small amount of people actually born on the extra day garner it some attention.

If you couldn’t tell by my definitely enthusiastic explanation, I’m indifferent on leap years. The sparsity is almost inconvenient- how weird is it that once every four years you get a random extra day? Should we treat it as some sort of holiday? That wouldn’t be too bad, but the rarity makes it sort of an oddity. 

“The rarity makes it just a little bit intriguing- not on the level of wanting to waste time to research it, more like an ‘oh cool, it’s a leap year’ kind of thing,” said Brycton Vollmer (10). 

People born on leap years are just about the only people who support making leap years- specifically the elusive Feb. 29th- a national holiday, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any “leapers” (nickname for people born on leap years) who go to Homestead to interview about what it might mean to them, so there is a lack of representation.

One rumor about leap years is that because of the extra day in the year, there’s also an extra day of school- but that’s not true. You might be able to have school on Feb. 29th, but you will still only have school 180 out of 366 days, so there’s nothing to worry about there. 

The joke about people born on Feb. 29th “turning one” when they turn four, four when they turn 16 and all that is not true. While Feb. 29th is their birthday, they still are one year old 365 days after Feb. 29th, and can still celebrate their birthday on Feb. 29th even though they will actually have turned however many years old the day before.

The scarcity of leap years still seems to make them deserving of some sort of recognition even though, after all, Feb. 29th is just another day in the life (unless it’s your birthday, and in that case have a great time celebrating it). 

“I think that enough people, counting the 4 million-ish leapers, might just make it cool enough for it to be a holiday,” said Keely Groholski (10). 

“I don’t think they’re all that special, one more day in a year might mean one more day of melancholy routine for someone out there, but February 29th has to be someone’s birthday, so I guess that adds a bit of virtue to it,” said Trevor Haines (10).

So after all the interviews, it seems like people are still pretty undecided on the importance of leap years. It’s really just a matter of perspective. To me, it’s just another 24 hours, but the question still stands- What does it mean to you?