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What is Leap Year?

General Knowledge | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod

How many days we have in a year?

365! Bingo, you got that right. But sometimes we have 366 days as well.

Leap Year – Definition

The year which has 366 days is called a leap year. That extra one day is added to the shortest month of the year, i.e. February. Thus when a year has 29th February in its calendar, it is termed as a leap year. This year occurs every four years.

Leap Day

But February 29 is a leap day or leap year day. A leap year is the year we are in like 2012 or 2016. Anyone can be born in a leap year but people born on 29th February are called as leap day babies. Leap day babies can celebrate their birthdays on 28th February or 1st March; except in a leap year when they can actually celebrate!

Why do we have leap years?

A year is the total time taken by the Earth to orbit around the Sun once. It takes the Earth 365 1/4th days (5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds) to make one orbit around the sun. But we calculate every year as only 365 and not the few hours left. So these leftover hours add up every four years and eventually add one extra day to our calendar. So adding a day every four years matches our calendar with the solar year.

This is not so simple. Even after adding the leftover hours, the calendar was still short of 11 minutes and 14 seconds each year. So over a period of 400 years, this would have added 3 extra days in our calendar. Thus, the new rule was decided that a century year would be a leap year only if it was divisible by 400. This means that year 2000 was a leap year but the year 2100 will not be a leap year.

Leap years from 2000 to 2016

The years 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 were leap years and now 2016 is a leap year as well.

For more such interesting General Knowledge articles and videos for kids.