February, the shortest month of them all, gets an additional day this year, Leap Day! To celebrate this special occasion that only comes once every four years, we are doing things a little different and not blogging about engineering. Instead, we will explore the many traditions and customs surrounding this day.

In four year cycles, an extra day is added to our calendar. Adjustments are needed to ensure our calendar is always in synch with the time it takes for Earth to orbit the sun. To be precise, the Earth’s orbit of the sun takes place over 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. Those 5+ extra hours compound over time, so after four years, another day is added—Leap Day—to realign our calendar with the sun.

Leap Day celebration for students can involve jumping or leaping races, learning about frogs, exploring the science behind the reason we have a leap year, and exploring where you will be in four years on the next Leap Day. For adults, Leap Day is not considered a work holiday, but many companies still like to celebrate by offering sales and coupons for one day only. Or, for musical lovers, it could be a great day to watch “The Pirates of Penzance,” the Gilbert and Sullivan musical. In this entertaining story, an indentured pirate is set to regain his freedom on his 21st birthday. Yet, the guy was born on a Leap Day, meaning he only technically has a birthday every four years. Wackiness, dance and romance are all in the mix too.

One of the most well-known traditions surrounding Leap Day is an old Irish legend, or possibly history. St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.

There are many great ways to celebrate the extra day, check out these ones:

  1. Set life achievement goals for the next 5 leap years.
  2. Have your children write letters to themselves that they can open on the next leap day (2024).
  3. Catch up on a task that you’ve been putting off.
  4. Throw your own leap day party.
  5. Try something new and take a leap of faith.

Whatever you do, all of us at ORB Engineering hop you have a great extra day of the year. Next month we will go back to the engineering, and we hope to see you then!

More to come soon.

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