No one saw this coming.
That was sarcasm.
And on such a unique day too. February 29th. Leap day. Nearly every four years our calendars use a little curiosity of nature -that a year doesn’t have an even number of days- to give us an extra day. One more day to go out there an achieve something great.
It didn’t used to be like that. The ancient Romans used to get whole extra months! In a normal year they had 12 month, 355 day, years. But every few years the pontifex maximus of Rome would throw in an extra month, and make the year 377 days, just to keep things evened out. Only problem was, the Pontifex would decide this just… whenevs yo, and sometimes folx out in the boonies couldn’t even be sure what date it was.
Mack Daddy Dictator Julius Caesar didn’t like this, so he instituted the Julian Calendar. One leap year, one extra day, every four years, BAM. Simple.
OR WAS IT?
No. Because the actual length of a year is 365.2425 days long. The Julian calendar actually judged years as LONGER at 365.25. That decimal place may seem insignificant, but this is SCIENCE AND HISTORY. And the Julian year was almost ELEVEN MINUTES too long.
Over the centuries those minutes added up into days. The calendar kept falling further and further back, and the equinoxes that herald the seasons were not matching with the days.
Jesus, that’s what. He was crucified at Passover. A Jewish holiday determined at the time by the equinox, specifically after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. And early Christians decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following that. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox.
But now March 21 and Vernal Equinox no worky together.
So in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII has some of his popealicious scientists come up with a simple plan. So simple I had to copy it from Wikipedia directly. “Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 are.”
Only one problem left. The calendar still wasn’t currently fixed. The day on the chart still didn’t match the actual season they were experiencing.
So, Greg decided to DELETE TEN DAYS. People went to sleep on Thursday, October 4th and woke up on Friday October 15. Poof, one man’s decision and all those poor Italians had lost more than a week of their lives they’d never get back.
Kinda like all of us reading this stupid arc.
HAPPY LEAP YEAR EVERY BODY!