Why are years like that?


As we welcome in the New Year, there are many things that we ought to be reflective of. Many people have been lost this year, and new lives have come into being. This is the same as any year. What is also the same as any other year is that this year has been its own kind of special. With COVID still going about its business, albeit slowly ebbing and fading into its place in part of our normality, the year may have seemed to drag on, or maybe even go a little quicker than people would have liked. Truth is, it is the same length as all the rest, three-hundred and sixty-five days.

So why is this the way that it is? Did some genius pull this random figure out of a hat, round it off nice and even and present it to the world? Well, no, not really. The reason that there are three hundred and sixty-five days is fairly straight forward and easy to understand. In fact, it has become pretty common knowledge. So, to start with, you would need to understand why days are the length that they are. Days consist of twenty-four hours because that is how long it takes the earth to rotate on its axis just once. And so, a year is defined by how many times the earth rotates on its axis in the time it takes for the Earth to rotate around the sun. This is roughly 365.25 times, or even 365.24 more specifically. So, if the Earth rotates around the sun more than 365 times, then why do we only have 365 days within the year? Well this is linked to why we have a leap year, and why every four years, there’s that random extra day in February.

Every four years, there is supposedly a leap year, an extra day in February that brings the total number of days within that month to 29, one up from its normal total of 28. This is because the 0.25 comes together to create one full day every four years. The last time that this happened was last year in 2020. However, this rule is not consistent as if the year lands on a hundred year, any year that makes the number round to a hundred such as 2200 or 2300, there would not be a leap year. This rule however, does not apply if the year is also divisible by 400.  As such, in 2100 when there should be a leap year, there will not be one at all. This has been in place since 1752.

With the coming of a new year, we always say that it is a fresh start. But that does not mean that we start over. It means simply that we turn over the page, flip to the next chapter of the book of our life and continue to write freely and discover how our story will continue to unfold. As the year passes, we should draw free of the lines, colour outside of the boundaries and set our own new limits.


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