Why leap year comes every 4 years and why February is the shortest month of the year

The leap year…

Have you ever wondered why we have leap year every 4 years? Well you are about to get the answer…

Well it’s an established fact that the revolution of the earth is the yardstick for counting years, we were taught in school that it takes the earth 365 days to make a complete revolution, well! That’s not entirely true, it actually takes the earth 365¹/4 days to make a complete revolution, note; ¹/4 days is equal to 6 hours. Now after every 4 years the ¹/4 days which is 6 hours would have added up to give a full day..still confused? Now multiply 6 hours by 4…….24 hours right?? Amazing isn’t it?


Rumour has it that Augustus Ceaser stole a month from February and added it to August which actually was named after him, well that’s not true, the truth is that Farming was a big deal in ancient Rome. Roman farmers harvested wheat, spelt and barley which were basically all the ingredients to make their favourite food, bread! Farming was so important to Romans that King Pompilius didn’t even bother to name the time in between harvests. The calendar year began in March and ended in December. Everything else was just called winter!
However, with the calendar only being 10 months long, it began to fall out of sync with the Lunar calendar which tracked the phases of the moon. The Lunar calendar had 355 days a year and 12 lunar cycles (or months) while the Roman calendar only accounted for 10.

Confused yet?

So were the Romans! They didn’t know whether to follow the 12-month Lunar calendar or the new 10-month calendar invented by King Pompilius! To solve this problem, the king added two more months after December and called them January and February.
This still didn’t solve the problem, but rather made it a bit complicated
This caused more problems because ancient Romans thought that even numbers (2,4,6,8, etc.) were unlucky! Because of this King Pompilius made the months either 29 or 31 days long but the math still didn’t add up to match the Lunar Calendar. One month had to be an even number so poor February drew the unlucky straw with 28 days! Probably just because it was the last month of the year. Yes, you read that correct! In those days the start of the new year was March 1st, not January 1st like we have now.

Much later, Julius Caesar rearranged the calendar one more time, finally giving it the 365 days we know today and the rest is history! February still maintained its short length, but with all the great things that happen in February, like Valentines Day and Family Day, it’s pretty lucky after all

Austine Ihechukwu is a Chemistry Education graduate, a prolific writer, Social and Political Commentator. Austine is a seeker of knowledge and a fitness Enthusiast with interest in Sports, Entertainment, Tourism, Technology, History and Business investments. Mr Austine has over a decade experience in Journalism and freelance writing

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