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Leaping For Joy Over the 2024 Leap Year

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Shannon Wack
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It takes exactly 365.24219 days for the Earth to orbit the sun, which is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 56 seconds. In the 16th century, it was decided that this amount was to be rounded down into a whole number, 365, to complete the number of days that are in the usual calendar year. To accommodate for the extra 0.24219 days, it was decided that one extra day, leap day, would be added at the end of February, every four years.

Though most people just think of a leap year as a normal year with an extra day, some believe that civilizations are doomed to undergo major changes and events each leap year, inciting panic in society. In recent leap years, this thought has supposedly come true. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nation, the bird flu terrified civilians in 2008, and people believed the world would end in 2000. 

The forthcoming leap year is seen as unlucky and superstitious to some, as patterns and trends repeat themselves. So far, there have been some odd coincidences between 2024 and 2020, even though we are only three months into the new year. The same Super Bowl lineup occurred, with the same winning team. As of now, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are set to run against each other for president this year, just as they were in 2020. In the music industry, there are multiple similarities as well. Both Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa are set to release their newest album this year, marking four years since their most recent album releases.

“I remember [2020] as the year of cancellations and I feel this year will be more intense with cancellations, pop-culture-wise,” said senior, Rylee Morgan. “Lana Del Rey asked a question for the culture and wore a mesh face mask, Shane Dawson’s old videos resurfaced, and Ellen DeGeneres had allegations that she had a toxic workplace.”

Whether you believe that these patterns repeat every year or not, everyone will soon see if any of these events repeat themselves as the year goes on.

There is only a February 29th every four years, so there is the possibility of someone being born on that day, therefore only celebrating the exact day of their birth once every four years. Although the chances of being born on a leap day are about one in 1,461, it is still possible for some to celebrate their date of birth on leap day. Wheeling Towngate Theater technical director, P.D. Gregg, is one of those people.

“It’s special I think, but there’s not many drawbacks. I don’t have trouble filing my taxes or anything like that,” said Gregg.

“My wife throws a party themed on how many birthdays I’ve actually had. I’m turning 60, so it’s technically my 15th birthday. I turned 14 when Star Wars came out, so my ‘14th birthday’ was Star Wars themed,” said Gregg. 

Senior, Ella Benner, shares what it is like celebrating family members with birthdays on leap day. 

“My uncle was born on leap day which is pretty rare and special so it’s always fun when we celebrate his birthday because we celebrate his real age and the age that he would be just counting leap years,” said Benner. 

Although leap years only occur once every four years, they always end up making their mark in history. Only time will tell what the current leap year will bring.

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About the Contributor
Shannon Wack
Shannon Wack, Staff Writer
  • Journalism I
  • Senior
  • I am a member of the Varsity Volleyball team, a Key Club officer, a REAP counselor, a Freshman mentor, and an employee at Oglebay
  • I love baking and making cookies, finding crawdads, playing with all animals and insects, and doing paint-by-numbers.
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