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Leap Day! - February 29

  • 2016 29 Feb
Leap Day! - February 29


FEBRUARY 29 is Leap Day. In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar replaced the calendars used throughout the Roman Empire based on the moon's cycles with a calendar based on the sun, having 365 days and a "leap" day every 4th year. It was modified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to omit leap days in years divisible by 100 but not 

divisible by 400. This was a closer approximation to a tropical year-the time the Earth takes to orbit the Sun. Protestant Europe did not adopted the Gregorian reform till the 1700's. England and its colonies waited till 1752, but by that time the calendar trailed the seasons by 11 days. When America finally adjusted its calendar and the day after September 2 became September 14, there were riots. Another interesting event occurred on this day during Christopher Columbus' last voyage. Driven by storms around the Caribbean Sea, two of his ships were abandoned and the remaining two were worm-eaten and sinking. Columbus was shipwrecked on Jamaica. Indians brought food for a while, but then became hostile. Columbus predicted a lunar eclipse on FEBRUARY 29, 1504, and the frightened Indians quickly made peace. Columbus wrote: "My hope in the One who created us all sustains me: He is an ever-present help in