The year is based on approximately how long it takes for our planet to revolve around the Sun. It takes about 365.25 days to make the journey and that .25 days is made up every 4 years with a “leap year”. The extra time that has accumulated is equal to one full day’s worth of time over the last four years, like this year. This year, February, has 29 days instead of 28, so that we can stay in sync with the solar system according to the Gregorian calendar our society runs on now. This calendar system was used starting in the 1500’s. Before that, the Julian calendar was in use for Western countries since the Roman empire over 2000 years ago.
The leap year is just one minor discrepancy in the Western calendar system. There are many more in the scope of things regarding time and our labels associated with it. For instance, what does it mean that it’s 2016? Well, not much as it turns out. The idea that it’s 2016 at all, is based on concepts most people don’t understand or believe in anymore. It’s mostly just an arbitrary number to mark time. The Chinese and Jewish calendars are based on a lunisolar year, which accounts for the phases of the Moon and not just the Sun. Instead of 365 or 366 days like the dominant calendar right now, these calendars have 353 – 355 days in a normal year. In a leap year, they add an entire month for a total of 13 months and between 383 – 385 days for the year. It all becomes very confusing which is why most people don’t think about it.
But what year is it really, and does it really matter what we call it? The answer is that; the number we place on the year doesn’t really matter. The number is arbitrary ‘as fuck’. It means nothing. The number 2016 suggests we all live in the same time period, but we never really do or ever did. In some parts of the World, people live in a futuristic land of hyper-technology, while Amish people live in parts of Pennsylvania like it was the 1700’s. People in Japan travel in bullet trains, while other people across the ocean live in grass huts like our ancestors did hundreds of thousands of years ago. The year doesn’t mark the age of the Earth, which most say is around 4.5 billion years. The year and time we celebrate it, is more of a symbol of who’s rules us or the culture we follow. That was clearer in the Western calendar during the Roman period, when years were marked by people’s names that held power.
If Hip Hop Kulture became the dominant force on the planet in the future, we might say that 1974 (1973) was year 0. That’s just how they made our current calendar after all. The short story of where we get our calendar involves some weirdo monk named Dionysius the Humble, who started it from the ‘beginning’ of the (Christian) world and the so-called birth year of the Christ. He used a calculation based on complete arbitrary nonsense and myths in the Bible to suggest that the Earth was only 6000 years old. After that, Pope Gregory in 1582, altered the calendar with a leap year but kept the same basic numbers used by Dionysius Exiguus. Pope Greg XIII did this to keep Easter in the spring time, because the date kept drifting farther and farther into the summer without the adjustment every 4 years.
The point of this discussion is just to remind you that we really don’t understand just where we are in time and that time itself is a bigger concept then we’ve imagined. Yes it’s a new year, but not totally in the way we think it is. Still, I’ve been told to enjoy the time we have together to build understanding between us, so, Happy Leap Year!