News East West
Why has February only 28 days for three years and 29 days every fourth year called a leap year?
Well, the Romans created the first calendar of 10 months or 304 days, with March being their first month. There were no January and February back then. September was their seventh month and named after `7.’ October, named after 8, was their eighth month, just as were November (named after 9) and December (named after 10).
So why were there only 10 months in the first Roman calendar?
Because the Romans only factored in the moon’s rotation around the earth which took 29 1/2 days to complete. They did not base their calculations on the solar rotation – that the earth took 365 1/4 days to complete a rotation around the sun.
Later, to make up for that difference, Roman king Numa Pompilius added two more months of January and February to the calendar. But there was a problem. This new calendar had just 355 days. So Numa created another month called Mercedinus (of 10 days) which will follow February so that all the 365 days of the solar rotation were accounted for. So, in all, there were a total of 13 months.
But this calendar of 13 months created a lot of confusion because of the short month of Mercedinus (of just 10 days).
So, in 45 BC, Julius Caesar removed the month of Mercedinus from the Roman calendar and added its 10 days at the end of all other months. As a result, some months were allotted 31 days, others 30 days. February would have 29 days. This new calendar became known as the Julian calendar of 365 days.
But since astronomy had proved that the earth took 365 1/4 days to complete one rotation of the sun, Pope Gregory XII in 1582 corrected the Julian calendar by adding 1/4 day to each year. He allotted the extra 1/4 day to February. But since February with 28 1/4 days would have been very confusing, the Pope created the so-called leap year. Which means that February will have 28 days for three years and 29 days every fourth year.
That’s how February got 28 days for three years and 29 days every fourth year which is called a leap year.