We don’t get this day – 29th February – every year, so instead of waiting another 4 years to blog about this, hey, why not write about today as a special tribute to those who only get the opportunity to cut their birthday cake once every four years!
The current standard calendar used by most countries is based on the Gregorian calendar, named after the man who first introduced it – Pope Gregory XIII – in February 1582.
In the Dutch language, the leap year is called “Schrikkeljaar” which is a pun for “shock” or “to skip”.
People born on the 29th of February will immediately be 4 years older on their supposedly first birthday! That’s a “shock” to the birthday celebrant. The definition of “leap” also means “to skip”, “to jump” or “to move forward”, hence skipping the last 3 birthdays and becoming four years older all of a sudden. That’s shocking, indeed…
It’s Math time!
We know that a leap year has 366 days, while we normally count a year with the equivalent of 365 days. The extra day in a leap year is needed because the earth does not orbit around the sun in precisely 365 days.
The simple rule I learnt in Primary (or Grade) school was, if the year is evenly divisible by 4, it is a leap year, hence the year we are in now: 2012 / 4 = 503 (with no decimals) is definitely a leap year.
But of course, there are always exceptions. If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, UNLESS the year is also evenly divisible by 400.
The year 2000 was a leap year: 2000 / 4 = 500, and if you continue dividing the outcome by 100, you get an even number 5 (500 / 100).
The year 1900 may appear to be a leap year, if you used the simple rule: 1900 / 4 = 475, however, if you divide that outcome by 100, you will end up with a non-integer outcome of 4.75, which is definitely NOT a leap year.
The nearest millennium from now that will be a leap year will be year 2400! Erm… I’ll not be there, but that’ll be for my great (13 times great) grand children to experience! And my blog will be an antique – a masterpiece, by then * wink * LOL!
Of self-indulging and inducing
By the way, my younger son was born on 28th February eleven years ago (yep, it was his birthday yesterday). Fortunately, or unfortunately, the year he was born was NOT a leap year.
My son was born in Kuching and he “arrived” 25 days too early! The very pregnant me touched down Kuching airport on 14th February and I had only two short and quick weeks of binging on the local foods and delicacies. My last meal – on 27th February – was devouring on a plate of “aromatic” belacan beehoon for dinner. LOL! The poor foetus must be tossing and turning like mad, screaming for Oxygen. That night, when I wanted to go to the toilet to pee, and just after getting out of bed and about half way to entering the loo….gush… my water bag broke! Forget the pee. My younger sister and my mum rushed me to the clinic and the rest is history. My son was born at 3.45pm on 28th February, 2001.
To all the new “daring” mothers out there, if you want to “induce” your foetus, go glut on this awesome belacan beehon. Tried and tested. Ha ha ha…
AND to all birthday celebrants on this special day and year: Have a super leapin’ birthday. Try gorging on 4 birthday cakes for a start. 😀
Have a great day!