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A Year and a Day

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I'll sit and mourn all at her grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.
The twelvemonth and a day being up,
The dead began to speak:
"Oh who sits weeping on my grave,
And will not let me sleep?"
— "The Unquiet Grave", Child Ballads #78

The time span of a year and a day has many situations — legal and magical — where it is significant. For one thing, it sounds impressive, being more sonorous than merely a year. For another, it's been used in Real Life. For a third, it makes it clear that the time is precise; "a year" is sometimes used to mean approximately a year, but a year and a day makes it clear that the exact time is indicated.

Compare Celestial Deadline, When the Planets Align. This can start or end at a significant time, but it doesn't need to—only the passage of time counts.


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    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Blue Mountains, the Irishman and princess's wedding celebrations last this long.
  • In The Old Hag's Long Leather Bag, each girl declares she will return before this unless she succeeds in finding her fortune.
    So she took it and went away. She told them if she was not back in a year and a day from that, then they would know she was doing well, and making her fortune.
  • In one tale where a smith had gotten back his son from The Fair Folk found the boy listless and brooding for a year and a day; when it was over, he criticized his father's work one day and began do smith work with skills he had learned in the hill.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Equinox:
    "In one year and one day, you will be dead!"
  • Spoofed in HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami:
    "The volcano El Sombrero will shoot fire, devastating the Earth for 1,000 years and 2 weeks and a half."
  • My Man And I. Chu Chu Ramirez (Ricardo Montalbán) is falsely accused of shooting a man. He is found guilty of committing assault with a deadly weapon, and the judge sentences him to be imprisoned for a year and a day.

  • Susan Dexter
    • In The Wind-Witch, the widow must hold her husband's lands for a year and a day to claim them.
    • In The True Knight, when Wren tries to argue that the prince is a man, not a swan, the prince counters that he was a swan for a year and a day, and wanted to stay a swan.
  • L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained
    • Lilith tells Miranda that freeing the elves from their oaths to Hell means nothing if the elf does not lay claim to his freedom within a year and a day.
    • It takes a Handmaiden a year and a day to get the Water of Life from a well.
  • In Septimus Heap, a ghost must remain in the place they died for a year and a day. Many other deadlines last a year and a day as well.
  • In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, this is the length of time that passes between Gawain chopping the Green Knight's head off and when he has to go let the Green Knight chop off his head in turn.
  • In the Aiel civilisation of The Wheel of Time series, a warrior who was captured would become gai'shain, basically a servant, for a year and a day.
  • In Dark Lord of Derkholm, the Elf Talithan offers to serve Derk for a year and a day in exchange for one of the winged horses the latter breeds.
  • In The Dreamside Road, Enoa has leased space to store her property for a year and a day, since the Liberty Corps has burned her home and business. She has that long to either find the Dreamside Road, decide to give up, or die in the attempt.
  • In "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear, the title characters "sailed away for a year and a day / to the land where the bong tree grows".
  • Isaac Asimov:
  • Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
    • In the opening, Mr. Honeyfoot thinks of great medieval magicians, who would go out on The Quest for a year and a day.
    • One of the footnoted stories describes the Raven King disappearing for a year and a day. It's very much in keeping with the magical, mythic atmosphere around him. It causes much worry, because the King told only one person that he was going, and that person misheard him and reported that would return in a day.
  • Ranger's Apprentice: Halt is banished for this period of time.
  • The original Where the Wild Things Are sort of has this. Max's return voyage is "over a year", "in and out of weeks", and "through a day".
  • In The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe is banned from the University's Archives. When Elodin tells Lorren, the archivist, to reinstate him, Lorren says he planned to lift the ban after a year and a day, to which Elodin snarks "very traditional."
  • The Wife of Bath's Tale in The Canterbury Tales. After raping a maiden, the knight is given a year and a day to prove to the court that he doesn't deserve to be executed by learning what it is that women want most.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The Fellowship of the Ring: The subject of Bilbo's disappearance from his birthday party is the chief topic of conversation in Hobbiton for a year and a day—though this usage of the phrase is clearly figurative, meant to be amusingly over-specific.
    • The Two Towers: Faramir gives Frodo the right to go anywhere in the realm of Gondor (except for the Ranger hideout in Ithilien) for a year and a day. He also grants this right to anyone Frodo formally takes under his protection, such as Gollum. Oddly enough Samwise is not mentioned at all in this—apparently Faramir decided that as Frodo's companion, Sam was already under his protection. Faramir considers this period to be the limit of his discretionary power under the law (having caught Frodo and his companions "trespassing"), and urges Frodo to visit Minas Tirith before the year is over to petition the Steward to make his status permanent. And though the point may seem rather moot after the Ring is destroyed and Frodo is accorded high honor by all, King Aragorn does confirm his free status before he leaves Minas Tirith.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, her mother had warded Sunshine so that her father's family could not find her for a year and a day after they left.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennium, Soorm had to serve this long to sleep in the Tombs.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, a year and a day is how long Caspian has sworn to keep voyaging in search of the Seven Lost Lords.
    • The Last Battle. Jewel the Unicorn tells a story about Swanwhite the Queen, who ruled Narnia before the coming of the White Witch and the Great Winter. She was so beautiful that when she looked in a forest pool, the reflection of her face shone out of the water like a star at night for a year and a day afterward.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Ashes of Honor, Walther's anti-magic topical cream lasts for a year and a day.
  • In Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath novel When Fairies Go Bad, a year and a day is cited as a time period for curses.
  • In Horus Heresy short story Will Of Iron, Dantioch's men hold Lesser Damantyne for exactly a year and a day before it falls.
  • The Dresden Files: In Grave Peril, Harry makes a deal with his Fairy Godmother, to whom he owes a debt, that she will not attempt to collect on it or otherwise harm him for a year and a day, lest he kill himself and deny her forever. In the next book, the year has not yet run out, so when she shows up anyway to offer her help, Harry knows she is being sincere.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy: In The Outstretched Shadow Kellen Tavadon casts a Wild Magic spell to escape the Outlaw Hunt, which summons the unicorn Shalkan as a steed. Shalkan informs him that the Mageprice is to take a Vow of Celibacy and chastity for a year and a day on pain of castration, which becomes a problem when Kellen falls in love with Vestakia and has to sit on it until the end of the trilogy.
  • Goblins in the Castle: During the final battle, Ishmaelnote  explains that it took he and the old Baron a year and a day of researching to find the spell they'd use, and another year and a day to actually prepare the spell.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood: The episode "A Year and Day" centres around the medieval law (see Real Life below) that stated a peasant who escapes serfdom and lives in a city for "a year and a day" is a free man, given the man lives openly, not in hiding. Surgeon Calend has nearly completed that duration, and only has to remain 'at large' until sunset that day and he will be free, but the Sheriff closes in on him whilst he is treating Little John.

  • In "The Unquiet Grave" (sometimes entitled "Cold Blows the Wind Today Sweetheart"), the dead lover objects to mourning that lasts any longer.
  • "All Around My Hat" is another folk song that uses this motif. The singer promises to wear a willow around his/her hat for a year and a day in memory of his/her lover who's been transported (presumably to Australia).

  • In Celtic Mythology, the hero Cu Chulainn learned fighting skills from the female warrior Scáthach for a year and a day.
  • In a more recent Czech legend (with some basis in real history), the 17th century rebel from Chodsko, Jan Sladký Kozina, said on the day of his execution to Lamminger, the foreign nobleman who had taken away the Chods' old priveleges: "Lomikar, Lomikar, in a year and a day I invite you to God's judgement!" (Lomikar was the local name for Lamminger.) In a year and a half, Lamminger did indeed suddenly die. Apparently, most of the events did really happen but Lamminger died earlier. His sudden death meant he never gained much by his victory over Kozina and that would have given rise to the more legendary telling of the tale, in which "a year and a day" makes for a more narratively satisfying timespan.
  • In some versions of the Quest for the Holy Grail, the Knights of the Round Table agree to search for it for a year and a day, though some take a lot longer getting home.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Earthdawn
    • Nearly all uses of Blood Magic last for a year and a day.
      • If someone suffers from Depatterning damage to their True Pattern due to Blood Magic use, in order to heal the damage, they must refrain from any Blood Magic use for a year and a day.
      • Blood Magic can be used to extend the duration of certain spells to a year and a day or by a year and a day. They include Air Fortress, Animate Dead, Bone Walker, City in a Bottle, Crop Blight, Death Trance, False Enchantment, Flying Carpet, Light, Memory Blank, Memory Scribe, Nutritious Earth, Petrify and Sky Lattice.
      • A character must use a blood magic charm within a year and a day after putting it on his body or it becomes inert.
      • A year and a day after a Black Blood charm is put on, it reaches full strength and the wound it inflicts becomes permanent.
      • A Crystal Limb must be taken to a Weaponsmith once every year and a day for recharging.
      • If a character breaks a Training Pledge Oath they must wait a year and a day to heal the oathbreaker marks.
      • The damage caused by attaching a Blood Karma Charm lasts for a year and a day.
      • If a character uses the Sacrifice Magic type "The Dying Act" but changes their mind before carrying it through, they suffer wounds that last for a year and a day.
      • If a character uses the Sacrifice Magic type "The Dying Oath", they must fulfill the oath within a year and a day. If they don't (e.g. by changing their mind before completing it or deliberately not trying to fulfill it), they take wounds that last a year and a day.
      • Earthdawn Companion. Using the Swordmaster 13th Circle ability Keen Blade on a weapon requires the use of blood magic and the loss of two Damage Points. The user regains the two lost Damage Points a year and a day after the weapon leaves their possession.
      • Earthdawn Gamemaster Pack, "Gamemastering Earthdawn" booklet. All Blood Oaths last for a year and a day or until cancelled, whichever comes first. Once they end, they can be extended for another year and a day. All permanent damage caused by such oaths (including by violating them) can only be healed after a year and a day.
      • Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets. If both characters involved in a Blood Peace oath keep their promise for a year and a day, the wound site changes color to ruby, emerald, silver or gold. When two characters swear a Blood Promise oath, the period of time for the participants to carry out their deeds is a maximum of a year and a day. If a character violates a Blood Sworn oath, they take wounds that last three years and three days (three times a year and a day). If a character breaks the blood oath with their familiar, they suffer wounds that can't be healed for a year and a day.
      • Throal Adventures supplement, adventure "Deep Trouble". When the Player Characters kill the Horror Emr'r'ko, with its dying breath it uses sacrifice magic (a type of blood magic) to lay a curse of darkness on the dwarven town of Hustane that will last for ten years and ten days (ten times A Year And A Day). The curse lasts a multiple of the usual time because of the power the Horror puts into it.
    • Horrors
      • A Horror Mark lasts for a year and a day. At the end of that time, the Horror can renew the Mark for the same period of time.
      • When a Horror creates a cadaver man, if it takes a point of damage the cadaver man will exist for a year and a day instead of the normal three days.
      • The Horror power Thought Worm lasts for a year and a day.
      • The Horror power Unnatural Life only works on a corpse dead for less than a year and a day.
    • The benefits from a number of Talents last for a year and a day, including Astral Pocket, Book Memory, Empathic Sense, Lasting Impression and Spell Crystal Lock.
    • Pattern Items
      • If a Core Pattern Item is destroyed, it will be automatically recreated after a period of time, which can be up to a year and a day.
      • In order to become a Core Pattern Item, a Major Pattern Item must have existed for at least a year and a day.
    • Spells
      • The damage the caster takes from casting a Horror Call spell cannot be healed for a year and a day
      • Purify Forest. The test to see if the spell works is made against the highest Spell Defense of any Horror that passed through the tainted area in the last year and a day.
      • The spell Unnatural Life only works on a corpse which has been dead for less than a year and a day.
    • If a dragon places a Lair Mark on a victim, it will last for a year and a day.
    • Barsaive Campaign Set, "Gamemaster's Book". On its initial voyage the airship Earthdawn traveled for a year and a day, exploring the land of Barsaive and bringing word to the sealed kaers that the Scourge had ended.
    • Earthdawn Gamemaster Pack, "Gamemastering Earthdawn" booklet. The Puppet Familiar magic item can be activated for a year and a day by changing its true name using a Blood Magic ritual.
    • Arcane Mysteries of Barsaive. The owner of the magic shield Bloodwall can perform a Deed to unlock one of its powers. If their attempt to perform the Deed fails, the owner cannot try to do so again until a year and a day has passed.
    • Skypoint and Vivane Campaign Set, "Book One: Barsaivan Vivane". Under Theran law, barbarians may live in the Theran Quarter of the city of Vivane for a maximum of a year and a day.
    • ''Terror in the Skies" adventure. After a character puts on the Scintillating Medallion, for a year and a day they gain a bonus to their defenses against the Horror powers Corrupt Karma, Karma Tap, Terror and Thought Worm.
  • Shadowrun
    • 3rd Edition supplement Magic in the Shadows. A hermetic mage can bind an elemental to guard a site for a year and a day, unless the elemental is killed in astral combat or banished.
    • Supplement Blood in the Boardroom. In 2033 the Great Dragon Dunkelzahn bound the Free Spirit Buttercup to the body and soul of an poor, elderly ork for a year and a day to teach her a lesson in fundamental equality of all life forms.
    • Portfolio of a Dragon: Dunkelzahn's Secrets. One of Dunkelzahn's bequests was for an ally spirit to maintain a constant telepathic link with Stefan Rubloff for a year and a day. It was to assist him as needed during that time.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Basic Dungeons & Dragons supplement Top Ballista. If the magic item Ginzani's Riding Tack of Flight is successfully placed on a flying mount, the rider can control the mount's actions for a year and a day.
    • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Fiend Folio
      • If a character angers his or her deity, the deity will send an aleax to attack them. If the character defeats the aleax, the character is taken to their deity's home plane to serve the deity personally for a year and a day.
      • Once a hellcat has taken service with a master, it can only remain on the Prime Material Plane for a year and a day. At the end of that period, it must return to its home in the Nine Hells.
      • If a green slaad is killed but its symbol isn't destroyed, it will reincarnate as a blue slaad and remain in that form for a year and a day before returning to its normal form.
    • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition
      • Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. If an imp is killed, its spirit returns to its home plane and reforms. A year and a day later, it can return to its master and continue its work.
      • Greyhawk setting From the Ashes supplement, adventure card "Honest Bandits". Alkari Lantard fell in love with the daughter of an Urnst noble. In order to be given her hand in marriage, he had to spend a year and a day robbing people (without killing them) of ten thousand and one gold pieces worth of coins and gems.
      • Forgotten Realms supplement The Seven Sisters. The spell Laeral's Crowning Touch has a duration of a year and a day.
    • 3rd Edition
      • If a paladin's mount is killed, the paladin can call a new mount after a year and a day.
      • Slain or dismissed familiars and Blackguard pets may be replaced after a year and a day.
      • If a shadowdancer's shadow companion is dismissed or destroyed, the shadowdancer cannot replace it for a year and a day.
      • Supplement Relics & Rituals. The warrior-wizard Vode Nulan took a year and a day to forge the magic sword Wicked's Edge.
      • Ravenloft supplement Forged of Darkness. If the Moondial of Klorr is left beneath the full light of the sun for a year and a day, it will crumble to dust.
    • A deity must work for a year and a day to change the traits of his domain and purifying an area of taint using the optional rules for taint.
    • Judges Guild
      • Supplement The Mines of Custalcon. In a detachment of the First Regiment Stillring Brigade, several of the soldiers have swords blessed to be +1 vs. goblins for a year and a day.
      • Supplement The Unknown Gods. The deity Sashu has a magical weapon called the Sword of Judgement. If the Sword touches a creature which has a Chaotic Character Alignment, the creature will be sent to Hell for a year and a day.
    • Dungeon magazine #37 adventure "The White Boar of Calfay". If the White Boar fails in its task of destroying the mutated bulette, the Celtic gods that sent it may punish the PCs for failing to help it by cursing them to have donkey's ears for a year and a day.
    • Dragon magazine #77 article "The Tarot of Many Things''.
      • When someone draws the Major Arcana card "The Hanged Man" face up, they enter a period of meditation for 24 days. For a year and a day after that the drawer will refuse all excess wealth, accepting only enough to cover their modest needs and those of their followers, if any.
      • When the Major Arcana card "The Tower" is drawn upside down, the person doing so is unable to achieve a new Character Level for a year and a day, no matter how many Experience Points they earn.
      • If a priest, druid or paladin draws the Minor Arcana card the Eight of Cups, they will engage in a religious retreat for a year and a day.
    • Judges Guild campaign setting City State of the World Emperor. A wet nurse named Plimm provides a safe hiding place for escaped serfs for a year and a day. After that, the serfs can legally become villeins and no longer have to worry about being recaptured by their former master.
    • White Dwarf magazine #31 article "Fiend Factory". When a leanan-sidhe charms and captures a male bard, she will help him advance two Character Levels. However, if he ever leaves her, he will die a year and a day later unless a Remove Curse spell is cast on him.
    • Polyhedron magazine #28 adventure "The Great Bugbear Hunt". In the list of pre-generated Player Characters, the fighter Sir Alfred has pledged his service to the cleric James Ansthrom for a year and a day.
    • The Planar Binding spell, as described in the 5E PHB, when cast at its highest level, binds a celestial/elemental/fey/fiendish creature into the caster's service for a year and a day.
  • Hot Chicks RPG. The Bind Spirit spell will bind a spirit into the service of the caster. The default period is a year and a day, but the caster can choose a shorter time.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, a year and a day is used as a duration on some particularly potent pledges. A Year and a Day is used instead of a year because of problems with mortal timekeeping (leap years, for instance) synching up with the actual passage of a year, causing the magic to unravel.
  • Time Lord the RPG (based on Doctor Who), Journies supplement. The sample companion Antonio Garcia was challenged to a card game by the Time Lord "The Professor". If Antonio won he would receive The Professor's emerald ring. If he lost he would owe The Professor his servitude for a year and a day.
  • Witch Hunter: The Invisible World. If a shaman casts a Spirit Father spell to bind a spirit as an ally/slave and fails, he cannot try to bind the spirit again for a year and a day unless he knows the spirit's True Name.
  • Atlantis: The Lost World generic RPG setting. In the land of Uallach, one member of the Ancient Order of the Council is chosen to lead that group for a term of a year and a day.
  • RuneQuest, Avalon Hill's Sun County supplement. The Count of Sun County ordered that the village of Sandy Cot be renamed Repentance for a year and a day as punishment for failing to pay its annual cult remittances.
  • Exalted
    • Drinking three glasses of Celestial Wine will cause the drinker to be the immune to all poisons and diseases weaker than the Great Contagion for a year and a day.
    • Also, a summoned demon can be forced to serve loyally for a year and a day.
  • Dragon Warriors
    • It takes a Sorcerer a year and a day to create a magical amulet.
    • It takes a Warlock a year and a day to create one of the three powerful magical swords: the Volcanic Sword, the Severblade or the Vampire Sword.
    • An Assassin using the Darkness Trance ability or a Mystic using the Suspended Animation spell can remain in a coma for up to a year and a day.
    • If a person has been dead for more than a year and a day an Elixer Vitae potion will not bring them back to life.
    • A serf can gain his freedom by escaping to a freeman town and remaining there for a year and a day; see below for the Real Life inspirations for this.
    • White Ladies (demonic creatures) can use an Enslave spell that completely controls the victim(s) for a year and a day.
  • Fantasy Wargaming
    • If certain classes of serf run away from their master and stay uncaught for a year and a day, they become free men.
    • If a demon is successfully conjured up using Demonology, it will serve its summoner for a year and a day.
  • The Compleat Arduin, Book 2: Resources. The spell Milton's Ritual of Slime Control takes a year and a day of intense study to master.
  • Ars Magica supplement Tales of the Dark Ages, adventure "The Inheritance". A Player Character receives an inheritance of land and a title as a knight. The character has a year and a day to claim their inheritance. If they don't, it will go to the Catholic Church.
  • According to the SLA Industries Writers' Bible, the SLA universe was created by a person in the Real Time universe who was under the influence of the drug Reathanol. Anyone in the Real Time universe who is under the influence of Reathanol can create a new universe under certain circumstances, but they must do so within a year and a day after starting the attempt.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, there is a dagger known as the Bosun's Blade, formerly owned by the titular Bosun of the ill-fated ship Lady Lenore, which disappeared after her captain was possessed by a demon. The Bosun was the only one to survive the incident, apparently having jumped to safety just as the Lenore went under, but as a result he was branded "the most cowardly soul to ever sail". Unfortunately, the Bosun would find no redemption; the Lady Lenore would suffer no deserters, and the Bosun disappeared, reclaimed by the ship he'd abandoned to save his own hide, a year and a day after he'd fled her, leaving behind only the lingering stench of fear.
  • There is a glitch in early copies of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, caused by a quirk in the way the game would interpret the date generated by the cartridge's real-time clock, that results in all in-game events that rely on the date stopping exactly 366 days after the game is booted up for the first time, and not starting again until 366 days after that. The glitch most notably prevents Berries from growing, which are helpful (although not strictly necessary) for gameplay, hence the fandom terming the phenomenon the Berry glitch.
  • Referenced, averted, and zigzagged in Quest for Glory II. The evil genie's sleep can be broken in exactly one thousand and one years. However, the stars aren't in alignment until the day after that. Ad Avis even complains that the prophecy didn't say "One thousand and one years and a day." Since you are enthralled to him, you use a mirror to artificially align the starlight without having to wait the extra day.

    Visual Novel 
  • In Book 3 of Endless Summer, the Vaanti concept of marriage, handfasting, has it told that if a couple married together for a year and a day still love each other after that time, they will be together forever.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick book Snips, Snails and Dragon Tails, the Mummy Queen's curse lasts a hundred years — and a day.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Herself the Elf, Herself's wand won't give up ownership to Thorn until a year and a day has passed since he took it. By the time the story proper begins, Herself has been captured for a year and time's almost up to return things to normal.

    Real Life 
  • A year and a day has been used in many legal situations.
    • In common law countries, it was held until quite recently that a death could not be murder if the victim died more than a year and a day after the events that the death was attributed to.
      If a man wound a Rational Creature under the Queen's Peace so that he die within a year and a day.
    • A year and a day is a minimum sentence of incarceration for felonies in many jurisdictions, and is one of the main features distinguishing felonies from misdemeanors. In many jurisdictions prisoners are eligible for parole only if their sentences are longer than a year; by imposing a sentence of a year and a day, judges can offer defendants a chance at parole.
      • Inverted in Canada: federal (penitentiary) sentences must be at least two years long, and are only available for certain offences ("indictable offences," comparable to felonies in the US). Accordingly, the maximum sentence for less serious offences is "two years less a day" (a.k.a a "deuce less").
    • In medieval Europe, serfs who lived in a free city (or at least avoided being found and brought back to their lord's estate) for this period became free. Among other literary references, this is noted in the Brother Cadfael short story "The Price of Light". In German this is phrased: "Stadtluft macht frei nach Jahr und Tag" — "city air makes (you) free after a year and a day." Both "Stadtluft macht frei" and "nach Jahr und Tag" are still very much part of current usage.
    • At one time in England, the period of time that a couple must be married for a spouse to have claim to a share of inheritable property.
    • In the United States, when a judgment has been reversed, a fresh action may be lodged within a year and a day regardless of the Statute of Limitations.
    • In France, if you find a lost object and bring it to the police station, if no-one claims it for a year and a day, it becomes yours.
    • The reason a year and a day was used is because the earth actually takes 365 and just under a quarter days to complete a full circuit around the sun, which is why we have leap years (see below). Thus a year and a day was used, to ensure that the earth really had gone round a full circuit by the end of the period. There was some dispute in 13th century legal circles as to whether 'a year and a day' still meant 366 days when the period included a leap day (so 'a year and a day' from January 15, 2012, would be January 15, 2013) or whether it still meant the anniversary of the day after the period started (so 'a year and a day' from January 15, 2012, would be January 16, 2013). The 13th century legal expert Henry Bracton argued for the former, but Edward III ruled in favour of the latter view with the Statute of Leap Year 1256, which decreed that the leap day and the day before count as one day for the purpose of determining when a full year has passed.
    • In the U.S., for tax purposes the Internal Revenue Service considers an investment to be "long term" if the investor owns it for at least a year and a day before selling it.
    • White Dwarf magazine #33 historical article "The Town Planner". In England, a person could qualify as one of the burgesses of a town by living unchallenged in the town for a year and a day.
  • Some branches of Neopaganism use "a year and a day" handfastings as a form of trial marriage. If all is still well after that, then the pair go through with a more formal, permanent handfasting (wedding) ceremony and/or legal paperwork to make it official.
    • That length of time may also be used as the amount of time needed to study to become an accepted member of a particular coven, or to become a priest/priestess.
  • Leap years exist because the year has actually 365 days and 6 hours. Those extra hours accumulate and one out of each four years has 366 days as a result. More precisely, a year has 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45.9747 seconds. We skip a leap year every century, except that we do it anyway every fourth century. This still has about a 26-second error per year, but it will be a long time until that matters enough to change our calendar.
  • Traditionally, three years and a day was (and in Germany, still is) the traditional amount of time a journeyman tradesman is supposed to spend wandering from place to place after completing their apprenticeship in order to be considered a master of their craft.
  • The famous HMS Dreadnought, which redefined battleship design for the 20th century, was constructed in a year and a day: Her keel was laid down on 2 October 1905 and she began sea trials 3 October 1906. This was accomplished by several months of stockpiling and prefabricating before the formal laying down, combined with a very large crew on a 69-hour workweek.