Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Weekly Roundup 7: Bonus Day!

Thursday, February 29, 2024 is a Leap Day! In a nutshell, an extra day was added to various calendars around the world because it takes the sun 365.242190 days to orbit the sun. Over time those quarter-days add up and throw the calendar out of sync with the seasons. Leap Day is a reset day every four years.

Not everyone loves Leap Day. Leaplings (born on February 29) might feel cheated out of an annual birthday. In many places, it is bad luck to get married or start a relationship on Leap Day. In Greece, Scotland, and Germany, the entire year is seen as unlucky. 

Though Leap Day was traditionally seen as a day in which gender roles were reversed and women could do "male" things such as propose marriage, the flip side, according to Monmouth University history professor Katherine Parkin, was that women were often ridiculed for it. She calls it "false empowerment." Hmph.

The Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar would do away with Leap Day. In this calendar, every date would fall on the same day of the week every year. January 1, for example, would always be a Monday. Birthdays would be the same day, too, which is great for the Friday/Saturday people and much less fun for the Monday/Tuesday people. But the permanent calendar doesn't avoid the "calendar drift" either, so every six years, a leap week would be added to the end of December.

Even though I occasionally get cheated out of a weekend birthday, I vote that we stick with our current system and have a bonus day every four years. I hope you have the chance to do something fun, bold, or memorable on February 29. Or do nothing at all! Take a nap and dream of spring.

Oh, and that guy in the picture is Leap Day William, from a very funny episode of 30Rock.

See you in March! 


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