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The significance of Leap Day

Sophia Montello
Art by Sophia Montello

Once every four years, the world is graced with an extra day on its calendar– February 29th, also known as Leap Day. This seemingly ordinary addition holds significance, not just for adjusting our calendars but also for opportunities we might not get every year. 

Why is leap day every four years? The reason is the Earth’s orbit. The amount of time that it takes for the Earth to fully revolve around the Sun actually isn’t a whole number– according to the National Air and Space Museum, the 365 days in every year is actually 365.242190 days. So, if leap day was left off of the calendar, the months that each season falls on would eventually shift. That would impact other aspects of life, like the times farmers grow and harvest their crops. 

When the modern calendar receives an addition of four 0.242190 days, it would roughly equal a full day, which is why February 29th joins the calendar of mostly years that are divisible by four, such as 2020 and this year, 2024. 

But exactly where did this day come from? 

The concept of adding an extra day to the calendar year dates back to the time of Julias Caesar when the Julian calendar was introduced. It was later polished by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to create the Gregorian calendar, which is the one we still utilize today. This adjustment was made in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year, ensuring that seasonal events like equinoxes and solstices occur at the same time each year.

Other than acknowledging the fact that Leap Year is an extra day in the year, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the day.

1. Try something new!

You can use this extra day to attempt something you’ve always wanted to try but have never had any spare time for. Whether it’s learning a new skill, exploring a new hobby or trying a new food— Leap Day provides the perfect opportunity to break out of your routine and expand your horizons.

2. Reflect and Set Goals

Take some time to reflect on your goals and aspirations. Use Leap Day as an opportunity to set new goals or recommit to existing ones. Write down some aspirations for the next four years and create a plan to achieve them.

3. Celebrate

Host a Leap Day party or gathering with friends and family. Get creative with Leap Day-themed decorations, food, and activities. With February 29th being all about leaps, maybe celebrate with a festive game of leap frog with those around you.

4. Participate in Leap Day Deals

In honor of this rare calendar occurrence, numerous companies and businesses have special Leap Day deals to celebrate. Restaurants including Burger King, Chipotle, and Dunkin’ are offering exclusive promotions on select menu items, and stores including Build-a-Bear Workshop are allowing those born on Leap Day to pay only $4 for a cuddly friend.

With an interesting history and astrological significance, the Leap Day phenomenon is something to be celebrated. So, get out there and enjoy a very happy Leap Day!

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About the Contributors
ASHLEE SCOLA, Staff Writer
Ashlee is a senior at GHS, and a first year staff writer for The Gillnetter. Her hobbies include studying and collecting crystals, listening to all kinds of music and creative writing. She is an honors student and a member of NHS. Her dad is the School Resource Officer, a.k.a. ‘Scola’-- so she’s been around Gloucester Public Schools and its events for many years. You can contact Ashlee with any questions or suggestions at [email protected] 
Sophia Montello, Staff Writer
Sophia Montello is a senior at Gloucester High School and a first year staff writer for the Gilnetter. In her free time she makes jewelry, practices nail art, paints and draws.  She also is the owner of four cats.  Sophia is a member of the National Art Honors Society at GHS. You can contact Sophia with story ideas at smontello014@

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