Every four years, an extra day is added to the month of February resulting in 366 days in the calendar year instead of 365. Such years are called leap years. But where does the phrase leap year come from?
In 365-day years, known as common years, fixed dates advance one day in the week per year. For example, Christmas fell on a Thursday in 2014 and will fall on a Friday in 2015. With the insertion of a leap day, dates advance two days instead of one. In 2016, which is a leap year, Christmas will leap over Saturday to fall on a Sunday.
The Gregorian calendar, modified from the Julian calendar used by the Romans, is the current standard calendar used by most of the world. In order to keep the common calendar cycle synchronized with the seasons, one extra day is added to a year. The addition of one day to the calendar every four years is intended to compensate for the fact that 365 days is actually six hours shorter than a solar year.
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