There may well be many reasons to honour the accomplishments and mighty deeds of Julius Caesar, but this business behind the origin of Leap Year, actually adding a day to winter, is definitely not one of them.
I mean, it might be nice and warm in parts of Italy at this time of the year but I can assure you, from all of us in the northern hemisphere, it most certainly isn’t warm where we are.
I wonder how the conversation actually occurred way back there in 45 BC. (Before Cold??).
Was Caesar sitting around chatting with his chief astronomer and the poor fellow had to nervously break the news, (We all know Caesar could be fickle!), that the calendar they had used was “just a little off” and every four years they were going to have to add one day to the year.
Then, once the decision was made to add the day, the astronomer asking, “Ceasar, to which month should we add the day?”
Caesar, in his infinite wisdom, responds, “February is the shortest month, let’s do it then.”
Well… that’s just great. One of the few times Caesar parked his ego and to this very day, we all suffer the consequence.
I mean really, why not July? After all, the month was named in his honour and the extra day every four years could have been known as Julius’ Day, a time of great joy and feasting!
But no, it had to be February, let’s add a day to the calendar right in the middle of a cold, dark winter!
Oh well, so much for missed opportunities.
In all seriousness, though, a year is actually 365.242 days long, not 365 days, so adding an extra day every four years keeps us relatively in sync with the sun.
Notice I said relatively.
Because the year is slightly less than 365.25 days, adding one day every four years actually gives us three days too many over a four hundred year period. To compensate, century years are only considered leap years if they are divisible by 400.
For example, the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years but 2000 was. The next century year, 2100, will not be.
Despite our best efforts at precision, the season’s seem to come and go on their schedule, not ours, and whether you add an extra day to the year in February or July doesn’t change what Mother Nature has in store for us.
Ah…but we are, after all, all victims of our perceptions, aren’t we?
What are your thoughts on Leap Year? Are you okay with it being in February, or like me, do you wish it came in a warmer month?