Is Leap Year Really Necessary?

Can you imagine what life would be like on Earth if someone had failed to figure out we need a Leap Year every four years?

Well, right now we’d have winter conditions, but the calendar would say June 2025. That’s because it does not take exactly 365 days for the Earth to revolve around the sun.

That annual journey requires approximately 365.25 days. For those of you keeping score at home, it’s actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Unless we account for that extra one-quarter of a day each year – or one day every four years – everything gets discombobulated.

New Year’s Day in the summer?

We wouldn’t notice the lack of Leap Years for a while. But eventually, our calendar year would get out of sync with our solar year.

For example, New Year’s Day would start to come earlier in winter than it does now. Then it would occur in the fall. And after about 780 years, it would match up with the summer solstice.

Because this is not an exact science, adjustments have been made through the centuries. In 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar figured out we needed a Leap Year after many years without one, he added 80 days to the calendar.

Then around 1575 A.D., Pope Gregory XIII took 10 days off the calendar and declared that three out of every four Leap Years ending in 00 should be skipped.

The way things are currently set up, we will not have a Leap Day in the years 2100, 2200, and 2300. We did have a Leap Day in 2000 and we will again in 2400.

Stock market doesn’t like Leap Years

Most people are in agreement that a Leap Year is needed nearly every four years. But some folks consider Leap Years to be bad luck.

They point to stock market downturns and crashes in 1992, 2000, and 2008. In the 10 Leap Years since 1984, the average annual stock market returns have been less than 8%. In non-Leap Years since then, they’ve been 23%.

Others look at the explosion of Covid-19 in 2020 as another Leap Year harbinger of bad news. U.S. presidential elections occur in Leap Years, and we all know the upheaval they’ve caused the last couple of decades.

There is also a superstition that getting married during a Leap Year is bad luck. And it’s even worse to get hitched on a Leap Day.

Earth’s orbit is slowing. Which may mean no more Leap Year

Now, I don’t expect any of us to be around 4 million years from now. In fact, it seems difficult to believe human beings will still exist on Earth.

But if we were, we wouldn’t need Leap Years, according to scientists. That’s because the Earth’s orbit is slowing, ever so slightly, due to tides.

In fact, eventually we would need to delete one day from the calendar every few years – rather than adding one – to keep the passing of seasons and the calendar aligned.  

But I don’t think we need to worry about that yet. For now, the lesson seems to be don’t mess with solar. And that goes for solar power as well as keeping our calendar straight.

With our vulnerable electric grids, we need solar-powered devices to function properly. Solar is the key to emergency preparedness. Blackouts are on the increase, both in number and in length of time.   

This year you have an extra 1,440 minutes

Depending on solar power rather than electrical power is a serious subject. And I hope you’ll take it seriously. But I want to end with a few Leap Year fun facts. Maybe you can impress family and friends with your knowledge of this special day.

  • During a leap year, you have an extra 1,440 minutes to use.
  • Famous people whose birthday is February 29 include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, jazz musician Jimmy Dorsey, and actors Dennis Farina and Antonio Sabato, Jr.
  • There are approximately 10,000 members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies.
  • People born on a Leap Day are sometimes called “leaplings.”
  • The twin cities of Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico claim the title of “Leap Year Capital” of the U.S.

Leave a comment

*Required Fields