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Leaping into 2020

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  • Snow man and flower in front of 29th of February

Meghan, Queen's Square | February 1, 2020

Leaping lizards! 2020 is a leap year. Leap years are one of the oddest quirks of the Gregorian calendar and also feature in other calendar systems used in cultures throughout the world.

What is a leap year? A leap year is a calendar year containing an extra day, or sometimes, even an extra month, in the case of luni-solar calendars, which track both the phases of the moon and sun.

After February 28th, 2020, instead of leapfrogging straight over to March 1st as per usual, we tack on a February 29th, 2020. Thanks to this, 2020 will be 366 days long, instead of the usual 365.

In another bizarre twist, babies born on February 29th won’t see their actual birthday appear on the calendar again until 2024.

As weird as they seem, leap years are useful from keeping the calendar on track, so that over time, seasons and other natural events don’t slowly shift away from the calendar dates with which we associate them. Imagine flowers blooming in the middle of December or snow falling on Canada Day. Leap years correct inconsistencies in the way our calendar measures time (365 days per year) versus the time it takes for Earth to travel around the Sun (roughly 365.2421 days). Without the humble leap year, the rhythms of our world would be a lot less predictable.

What will you do on Saturday, February 29th, this precious extra day of 2020? If you want to take a flying leap into 2020, why not use this day to discover something exciting that will stretch your boundaries? If you’re looking for bold new experiences, the Idea Exchange has you covered:  for example, you could try 3D printing or laser cutting a new design, try a musical instrument or take up a new hobby with one of our Maker Kits.