Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
Leapers | Flash Post 457

Leapers | Flash Post 457

Leapers? What’s that!

What do you think it is, Button?

Does it have anything to do with leaping?

Yes, Button, it has everything to do with leaping!

Does the word “leapfrog” have anything to do with it? Frogs leap and, therefore, the word leapfrog! Monkeys leap. Creepy crawlies like spiders also leap! Films show heroes leaping from building to building and from burning airplanes! Spiderman too leapt from building to building!

Button, leapfrog is a game for kids where several of them sit crouched on the ground and other kids jump over them in quick succession and has nothing to do with the leapers I am talking about. And, yes, frogs and monkeys also leap. So do apes. As well as humans.

So who are these leapers you are talking about?

2024 is a leap year. Leap years come once every four years and those who are born in a leap year are called leapers!

I bet even you didn’t know this!

I did not know that those born in leap years are called leapers. In fact, I don’t know of anybody whose birthday falls on a leap day. On the 29th of last month, I first came to know that those whose birthdays fall on leap years are called leapers. Do you know that leapers celebrate their birthdays once every four years? For instance, if a person is, say, 100, he or she has celebrated only 25 birthdays!

That’s horrible. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated every year. How would you feel if your siblings celebrated their birthdays every year and you got to celebrate yours only once in four years because you are a leaper? I’d hate it!

February is always the leap month and has 29 days every four years. The need for leap years comes from the fact that earth’s orbit around the sun takes approximately 365.2425 days, not 365 days. To accommodate this, an extra day is added every four years to keep the calendar aligned with the astronomical year. Now let me tell you how long leap years have been around for.

This is becoming super exciting! But I’d like to know why that extra day every four years latches itself to February only and not to the remaining 11 months of the year! Is it because February had the least number of days when compared to the other months?

Leap years have been around for over 2000 years, starting with the Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar, which used leap years to align the calendar with earth’s solar orbit. Leap years happen every four years which means that 2028 will also be a leap year since 2024 is one. Also, in Caesar’s day, February was the last month of the year and collected the odd day in a leap year. Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100 but these centurial (from the word century) years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. I know, I know. I am as confused as you are so here’s an example: The years 1700, 1800 and 1900 are not leap years because they are not exactly divisible by 400 but the year 2000 is.

Are you saying there are different kinds of calendars? What do we follow?

We follow the Gregorian calendar which has 365.2421 days as compared to the Julian calendar which has 365.2425 days but no one knows which is the more accurate one. Most countries follow the Gregorian calendar. The rest follow the Julian calendar.

Tell me some extraordinary things about leap years!

One is that 4 million people in the world are leap day babies. Two: leap year babies are also called leaplings and are said to be exceptionally talented.

Amazing. I’m sure all of this was a learning for you as much as it has been for me: Thank you.

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