Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

leap year - Gregorian calendar, Julian, Coptic and Ethiopian Calendars, Revised Julian Calendar, Chinese calendar

days divisible added day

In the Gregorian calendar, a year of 366 days, with a day added to the month of February. Any year whose date is a number exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except years ending in 00, which must be divisible by 400 to be leap years. The extra day is added every 4 years to allow for the difference between a year of 365 days and the actual time it takes the Earth to circle the Sun (approximately 365ΒΌ days). The system was introduced to the Western Julian calendar in its final form in AD 8, and modified by the Gregorian calendar of 1582.

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