Jack’s Journal: Leap Day

How many times have you thought, “There aren’t enough hours in the day”?

Leap Day might not be the perfect answer, but every four years, because the earth’s orbit is a wee bit faster than the 365 day calendar, we get extra time!  But those extra days caused a problem of their own.

“Around about the middle part of the 15th century, we were actually 10 days advanced.  So Pope Gregory, which is why we call it the Gregorian calendar, Pope Gregory proposed every four years we will add an extra day to the year,” explains NMC astronomer Jerry Dobek.

But that wasn’t a perfect fix, because the Leap Day eventually added too much time.

“If it’s a century year divisible by 400, for example. The year 1900 was a leap year, the year 2000 was divisible by 400 so we did not have a leap year then,” says Jerry.

February 29th also causes some issues for those celebrating birthdays. If that’s you, I’m sure you find time to celebrate!”

And you share it with band leader Jimmy Dorsey, actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and former Michigan congressman Bart Stupak.

When it comes to legal matters, Leap Day is an oddity, but something the legal world has come to deal with. But you need to be specific.

“It could be troublesome if you engage in a lease for example, a contract or promissory note that is not specific when drafted. There could be ambiguity,” says attorney Josh Reynolds.

In the U.S., March 1 is the default day, but in other countries like New Zealand, February 28th is the go to.

What about in history?  1940 saw an Oscar won by the first black actor, Hattie McDaniel for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind”. Our own hockey legend Gordie Howe scored his 800th goal on February 29, 1980 playing with his son as a member of the Hartford Whalers.

Also back in the day, St. Patrick allowed women to propose marriage to men on the rare February 29th.

Categories: Jack’s Journal