Does Leap Day happen every four years?

The answer to this question is yes, and then again no.

We think that Leap Days occur every four years because we have learned that the year is 365.25 days long, and therefore once every four years we need an extra day to catch up. However, it’s not quite that simple.

The year is actually 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds long – so there are further changes needed to be made to keep the calendar true. To compensate for the difference, an end-of-century year is not a leap year unless it is also exactly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600 and 2000 were leap years, as will be 2400 and 2800, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, nor will 2100, 2200 and 2300.

Confused? Well, why not, these deviations from the four year pattern are so rare that normal people can happily leave it up to the experts to remind them of exceptions. In the meantime, many cultures have their customs related to Leap Day, and these often relate to a woman being able to propose marriage to a man with no fear of refusal 😉

Click HERE to see the Wikipedia page on Leap Days.

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