What is a Leap Year?

Welcome to I Am Your Target Demographic and
today we’re discussing leap years. 2020 is a Leap Year, so I thought now would
be a good time to explain what this means and why we do this. We’ll also touch on people born on a leap
year and the consequences of only having a traditional birthday every four years! So, what is a leap year? Let’s zoom out literally and look at the
Earth and its rotations and its orbiting the sun and how we perceive the passage of time. This doesn’t exactly line up with the calendar
that most of the world uses, the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory the 13th
in 1582, which corrected some issues with the Julian calendar, created under
the reign of Julius Caesar. If we had the same number of days in every
year, we would eventually shift in one direction. And it would eventually throw everything out
of whack, each year shifting about six hours. If left to its own devices, this would mean
we would slowly drift further and further away from the seasonal equinoxes and other
holidays strictly related to when astronomical events occur. So the addition of a leap year was done to
primarily keep the vernal equinox around the same time, which would keep the Easter holiday
in the same time range. So to compensate for this, every four years,
an additional day was added to the calendar, an additional 24 hours that would make up
for the four years of six-hour offset. Every four years, the shortest month of the
year February receives an additional date, gaining the date of February 29th. Now, to make this even more complicated, doing
this shift every four years all the time would eventually overcompensate so we skip a leap
year sometimes. For example, the year 2000 was a leap year,
like normal, but the year 2100 won’t be, to help us get back on track. There’s an algorithm for which years are
and aren’t leap years but that’s maybe a little deeper than we need to go. You can pause and evaluate this algorithm,
if your heart really desires. There are places and cultures that use other
calendars, not the Gregorian, and they each have unique ways to track these differences
and make up for the difference. Every four years, on the leap year, people
are born. So what happens, since February 29th won’t
occur again for four years? Most people celebrate their birthday on the
28th or March 1st, on either side. In terms of what legally happens, you’ll
need to look into your country’s or state’s or city’s laws to find out if there’s
a definitive answer on which of the two dates is correct. Who are some of the most famous Leapers? Let’s look. It’s incredibly rare to be born on this
day, so the list is small. We’ve got rapper Ja Rule, the actor Antonio
Sabato Jr, and from Law and Order SVU, Peter Scanavino. In comic book lore, it’s also stated that
Superman, while born on the planet Krypton, was born on the day that would have translated
to February 29th here on Earth. This was an old reference and some writers
have done away with that tidbit and rewritten his birthday, but I thought it was a nice
touch. If you were born on a Leap Year, there’s
a way to find others just like you, by checking out the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies,
with over 10,000 members. Sound off in the comments if you’re a Leap
Year Baby or know someone who is. They’ve got a birthday coming up and we’d
love to share in the excitement. Share this video with your friends as we get
close to February and subscribe for more interesting tidbits just like this! Thanks for watching!

Stephen Childs


  1. I got taught it slightly differently in school but it's still pretty interesting with this information.

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