# Leap year

## Calendar year containing an additional day / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A **leap year** (also known as an **intercalary year** or **bissextile year**) is a calendar year that contains an additional day (or, in the case of a lunisolar calendar, a month) compared to a common year. The 366th day (or 13th month) is added to keep the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical year or seasonal year.^{[1]} Since astronomical events and seasons do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars having a constant number of days each year will unavoidably drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track, such as seasons. By inserting ("intercalating") an additional day—a **leap day**—or month—a leap month—into some years, the drift between a civilization's dating system and the physical properties of the Solar System can be corrected.

An astronomical year lasts slightly less than 3651/4 days. The historic Julian calendar has three common years of 365 days followed by a leap year of 366 days, by extending February to 29 days rather than the common 28. The Gregorian calendar, the world's most widely used civil calendar, makes a further adjustment for the small error in the Julian algorithm. Each leap year has 366 days instead of 365. This extra leap day occurs in each year that is a multiple of 4, except for years evenly divisible by 100 but not by 400.

In the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, Adar Aleph, a 13th lunar month, is added seven times every 19 years to the twelve lunar months in its common years to keep its calendar year from drifting through the seasons. In the Solar Hijri and Bahá'í calendars, a leap day is added when needed to ensure that the following year begins on the March equinox.

The term *leap year* probably comes from the fact that a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, but the day of the week in the 12 months following the leap day (from 1 March through 28 February of the following year) will advance two days due to the extra day, thus leaping over one day in the week.^{[2]}^{[3]} For example, Christmas Day (25 December) will be on a Wednesday in 2024, Thursday in 2025, Friday in 2026, and Saturday in 2027, but then will "leap" over Sunday to fall on a Monday in 2028.

The length of a day is also occasionally corrected by inserting a leap second into Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) because of variations in Earth's rotation period. Unlike leap days, leap seconds are not introduced on a regular schedule because variations in the length of the day are not entirely predictable.

Leap years can present a problem in computing, known as the leap year bug, when a year is not correctly identified as a leap year or when 29 February is not handled correctly in logic that accepts or manipulates dates.