Posts Tagged ‘leap day’

Today is Not Leap Day

February 29 2012

Today at lunch, Olga, Michael, and I were discussing the calendar.  Several questions came up.  Why is February the month with the least amount of days?  Why is December the 12th not the 10th month?  Why is October the 10th not the 8th month?  Why are July/August the only two consecutive months with 31 days?

Thanks to Michael, we now have all of the answers.  After lunch, he looked up the history of the calendar, and enlightened us during an afternoon tea.  I would attribute all of these facts to him, but I don’t have a good memory.  So, I cheated a little bit and looked up some things online (see here and Wikipedia).  I will summarize our findings into 8 interesting facts about our calendar system:

  1. Originally, the first month of the year was March.  In this system, October was the 8th month and December was the 10th month.
  2. In Roman times, there were 10 named months and 2 unnamed winter months.
  3. Many of the months were originally named after Gods: Janus = god of gates and doorways, Mars = god of war, Aphrodite = goddess of love and beauty, Maia = goddess of spring, Juno = goddess of marriage and well-being of women.
  4. In 46 BC, Julius Cesar renamed Quintilis (the 5th month) after himself.
  5. Augustus Caesar renamed Sextilis (6th month) after himself.  Although it is true that August did not originally have 31 days, it was Julius Caesar, not Augustus, who gave it 31 days.
  6. In 700 BC, January and February were added as months before March.
  7. In 1582 when the Gregorian calendar (the one we use today) was instituted, the day after October 4th was October 15th, proving that time travel is possible.
  8. Traditionally, the “leap day” is February 24th, not February 29th.  February 24th repeats itself on leap years.

So, since Sunday was my birthday and not Saturday, I would like to go back in time so we can re-celebrate my birthday on the proper day.