Leap Year Algorithm: When the Clocks and Days Come Out Even

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-29 at 9.27.55 PM

It is exam season – the time to pull up your socks and give it your best.

If you are one of those people who constantly lament a lack of time, you will be happy to learn that this year, you will be getting an extra 24 hours to work towards your goal and make your dreams come true. 2020 marks a special year in the calendar and brings with along the elusive leap day. The earth exactly takes 365.2422 days to orbit the sun, leap day i.e. 29th Feb is added every four years to maintain sync with the cosmic clocks.

Years evenly divisible by 100 are not all leap years unless they are also evenly divisible by 400. Atomic clock synchronisation following the earth’s rotation resultantly gives us that ‘extra’ day.

Roman Statesman and Military General, Julius Caesar first adopted the leap day concept in 45 BCE  for the Julian calendar. He made any year divisible by four, a leap year, but it was later modified by Gregory, who introduced the term ‘Leap Year’ and proved the hypothesis right, that a year that is divisible by 100, but not 400, is not a leap year. Calculating a leap year day may sound convoluted, but with the help of leap year algorithm, it becomes easy.

Leap Year Algorithm Rule:

If a year is not divisible by 4, then it’s a common year.

If a year is divisible by 4 and not divisible by 100, then it’s a leap year.

If a year is divisible by 100 but not divisible by 400, then it’s a common year.

Else, it’s a leap year.

The year 2020 is a Leap Year because it satisfies the second condition as stated above – it is divisible by 4, but not by 100.

The chances of being born as a leaper or a leapling are one in 1,466, which means being born as a leaper is special in itself. Famous Indian leaplings who are known for their outstanding achievements are Morarji Desai (former Indian Prime Minister and Finance Minister), C.S Seshadri (Indian Mathematician) and Rukmini Devi Arundale (Dancer).

Some interesting myths and facts surrounding the leap year are:

  1. Being born in a Leap Year is considered extremely unlucky, if for no other reason than for the fact that you get to celebrated your birthday a lot lesser than others!
  2. Astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents.
  3. Sir James Wilson (a Scottish businessman, economist and politician) was the only notable personality to have both, been born, and died on Feb 29th.
  4. Anthony, Texas, in the US, is the self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capital of the World”.
  5. George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn in a Leap Year (1876).
  6. It was a Leap Year in which the Titanic sank (1912)
  7. Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity in a Leap Year too (1752)!
  8. And finally, Gold was discovered in California in a Leap Year(1848).

So, here is one full day for your to live more, breath more and of course, study more!