How do Leap Day babies celebrate?

How do Leap Day babies celebrate?

Elyse Perry, staff writer

Every four years, our calendar gains an extra day to fix an interesting problem: our calendar year is only 365 days while our solar year is 365.25 days. Therefore, every four years, we need another day to keep our seasons on schedule. This extra day is placed at the end of February, thus creating the leap year. The leap day, however brief, is a time of celebration for about .07% of the world’s population. This is because, for that very small percentage of people, their birthday only comes around once every four years. 

The probability of having a birthday on Feb. 29 is very small: a one in 1461 chance to be exact. Needless to say, the probability of two people in the same family both being born on Feb. 29, is even lower. At DCHS, we actually have a student who comes from a family that experienced this anomaly. Nathan Abramczyk was not born on Feb. 29; however, both his mom and his brother Brett were. The chance of this is about one in 2.1 million. You’re much more likely to get struck by lightning than to see this even once. So it kind of goes without saying that his family is pretty unique. 

One of the the most common questions asked of people born on the leap day is this: when do you celebrate your birthday on the years when your actual birth date is not on the calendar? Some people celebrate their birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1. Some go back and forth between those days. In Nathan’s family, the answer is pretty simple. They celebrate on Feb. 28 unless it is a leap year. Even though they are on the wrong day, they still celebrate them like normal birthdays. The only exception is that on leap years, the celebration is a little bit more special. This year, Brett is turning 24 and his mom is turning 44. Brett will get six candles and his mom will get eleven. According to Nathan, “[On leap years] we do a little bit more, but not really. We might go to a nicer place to eat, but nothing too special.”

While the Abramczyk family celebrates these birthdays like normal ones, not everyone does. Some people celebrate quite extravagantly. If they only have a birthday once every four years, they have to go big. For example, someone Mrs. Tonsoni knows is turning sixty this Feb. 29. It will be his fifteenth birthday on the actual date, so his family is throwing him a surprise Quinceañera. Maybe in four years he’ll have a sweet sixteen party. 

It is crazy how the calendar that we use can cause some birthdays to be more rare than others. If anyone ever wants to blame someone for it, it’s Pope Gregory XIII’s fault. In the end, the rarity just adds to how special they are.