My mom's favorite claim to fame is that she was nearly born on a leap day, but missed it by three hours. Every March 1st she claims "I could be 14, but no! Instead I'm turning [redacted]!"

Which leads me to question: why do we have an extra day in February every four years? Why does the shortest month become a little longer? Turns out, there's a scientific reason for this.

### The Reason for the Season

A year is typically 365 days, but every four years, another day is tacked on to February. While this seems random, it's basic math. NASA says the extra days happen because each year is actually 365.25 days a year, or 365 days and 6 hours, so every four years that extra time of the day adds up to another day.

That extra 6 hours is just ignored each year until the extra time adds up to a full day (24 hours). Then that day is added to February.

Obviously, an extra day doesn't necessarily mean anything except that there's another day in the year, but a lot can happen in a day! Like this year, you could be getting an extra paycheck this month. There are also various leap year traditions around the world, like in Ireland where women are encouraged to propose to their partners rather than the other way around. So you get extra money AND a partner for life.

Leap days really are magic.

### Is a leap year really needed?

While the six hours a year seems inconsequential, the continued addition of the day is important so the calendar year matches the solar year. Those removed six hours would eventually add up, causing the calendar year to no longer make sense.

NASA uses July as an example:

July would eventually fall in line with winter rather than the hot mid-summer it always is.

Who would have thought that such a little amount of time would have such an impact in the long run? I hope you take advantage of the extra day by doing something great, like baking a cake or running a marathon! Or, you can treat it like a normal Thursday.

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Anthony Snyder from Portage and his Ecto is one of dozens trying to make it onto the 2022 calendar which you can help by liking his car's picture here. Here are all the participants...