Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Minute with Bill Federer Feb. 29 - Julius Caesar's Leap Day, and Columbus' Eclipse

American Minute with Bill Federer
Feb. 29 - Julius Caesar's Leap Day, and Columbus' Eclipse
FEBRUARY 29th is Leap Day.

It was invented in 45 B.C. when Julius Caesar replaced the many calendars used throughout the Roman Empire based on the moon's cycles with one unified calendar based on the sun, having 365 days and a "leap" day every 4th year.

This was called the Julian Calendar.

Caesar also moved the beginning of the year from March 1st to January 1st.

After three centuries and ten major persecutions, the Roman Empire became Christian, and the most important day in the Christian church calendar is Christ's resurrection, or as it is also called, Easter.
In 325 AD, the First Council of Nicaea wanted to keep Easter as close as possible to the Jewish Feast of Passover, yet still have it on a Sunday, so they set Easter as the FIRST SUNDAY after the FULL MOON following the SPRING EQUINOX ("equinox" or "equal night" is one day in the Spring and one day Fall when the amount of daylight is equal to the amount of night.)
In 567 AD, the Council of Tours moved the beginning of the year in most of Europe back to March 1st, as January 1st was associated with pagan Rome.

By the Middle Ages, the Julian Calendar date of Easter had slipped too early in the year, so Pope Gregory XIII, in 1582, adjusted the calendar slightly to omit leap days in years divisible by 100 but not divisible by 400.
This is called the Gregorian Calendar.

Pope Gregory also moved the beginning of the year back to January 1st.

Protestant Europe did not adopt the Catholic Gregorian Calendar for nearly two centuries.

This gave rise to some interesting record keeping.
For example:

a ship would leave Protestant England on one date according to the Julian Calendar and arrive in Catholic Europe at an earlier date, according to the Gregorian Calendar;

or April 23, 1616 was the day William Shakespeare died in England and Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote-Man of La Mancha, died in Spain, but when the differences between England's Julian and Spain's Gregorian Calendars are removed, Cervantes actually died ten days before Shakespeare.

England and its colonies waited till 1752 to adopt the Gregorian Calendar, but by that time there was an 11 day discrepancy.

When America finally adjusted its calendar and the day after September 2, 1752, became September 14, 1752, there were reports of riots.

Another interesting event occurred on this day during Christopher Columbus' last voyage.

Driven by storms around the Caribbean Sea, two of Columbus' ships were abandoned and the remaining two were worm-eaten and sinking.

Columbus was shipwrecked on Jamaica.

Indians brought food for a while, but then threatened to become hostile.

Columbus, using his skill as a navigator, predicted a lunar eclipse on FEBRUARY 29, 1504.

He called the Indian Chiefs to his marooned ship and told them if they did not stay on good terms, he would pray that God would blot out the moon.

When the eclipse began, the Indians shrieked and quickly made peace with Columbus.
Columbus later wrote:

"My hope in the One who created us all sustains me: He is an ever-present help in trouble."
News from
Invite Bill Federer to speak - contact or call 1-888-USA-WORD

Get the book and DVD Saint Patrick-The Real Story of His Amazing Life from Tragedy to Triumph

Receive the daily minute on your Facebook wall, Twitter feed, or RSS reader.

Visit the American Minute archive

Visit our website to download an MP3 version of the American Minute suitable as a radio PSA.

Please visit the store today to order William J. Federer's books and DVDs.

Use the Send to a Colleague link below to tell others about the American Minute or click Join Our Mailing List to sign up.

Daily Reading:

Please consider a donation at

American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward and/or duplicate with acknowledgement to
Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment