Odds Are… February 29

Jared Fisch ('18), Eastside Staff

It is the most wonderful time of the year… no, not Christmas—my birthday! April 15, also known as Tax Day, is the day I came into this beautiful world. Now Tax Day doesn’t sound like the best day to be born on, but at least I have a birthday to celebrate every year. Unfortunately those that are born on February 29 can’t celebrate their birthday every year.

February 29 is known as Leap Day and only occurs every four years. This special year is called a leap year. This special year consists of 366 days instead of 365 days. Why is that? Earth makes a full orbit around the sun which takes one full year or… 365 and a fourth days. To synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, the one-fourth days are added together. Therefore, every four years there is a leap year with an extra day.

The fractions get a little complicated. Each year is not exactly 365 and a fourth days but is actually 11 minutes shorter than that. In order to keep everything in order, the leap year is skipped every four hundred years.

There are around four million people in the world who have the spectacular birthday of February 29. There are many famous “leaplings” or “leap year babies” such as the hockey players Cam Ward and Simon Gagne. Famous rapper/actor Ja Rule was also born on February 29.

A “leapling” can decide whether they want to celebrate their birthday on February 28 or March 1. States and countries vary whether a “leapling” can get his/her license on February 28 or March 1. New Zealand, unlike England, proclaimed that a person born on February 29 will celebrate their birthday (get license) on February 28. Most states in America give “leaplings” their license on March 1 in non-leap years.

I am a “millennium baby” because I was born in 2000. That year was a leap year, so anyone who was born on February 29, 2000, will be turning four (16) years old next year… congratulations!

Being born on a leap day is not a bad thing… it is unique and special. To all “leaplings” out there: just remember that when you turn 80 years old, you can say that you are truly 20 years old!

I think that unique birthdays are awesome. January 1 (New Year’s Day), February 29 (leap day), December 25 (Christmas) and December 31 (New Year’s Eve). All of these birthdays and more are unique. There are 365 days in a year… which day is your special day?

The odds of being born on February 29 are 1 in 1,500.