Leap year brings unique birthday tradition

Sadie West, Reporter

  Imagine showing someone a document when you start a new job, going to the DMV, or having someone see a little factual bio about your life. One thing is constantly noticed, and everyone instantly has comments to make about it. 

  I was born on Feb. 29, 2004. If you looked at the 2019 calendar you’d quickly see that the 29th does not exist, and be in disbelief. The calendar for 2020 though, has this date at the end of the month of February. One of my most common questions is, “How old are you actually?” This year I’ll be turning both four and sixteen years old. 

  This day comes around because the earth rotates around the sun 365.242199 days. This means, that if we celebrated the new year after only 365 every time, our whole lifestyle would eventually change. The seasons would be completely off. So, it was rounded up to 365.25, and every four years we add on that extra day. 

  Some heritages think that this is a very special day and is opposite from normal ones. An Irish legend says that a deal happened to allow women to propose to men on this day. An old European tradition is that if a woman proposes to a man, and he declines, he has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves to cover up her ringless finger. It used to be considered unlucky for someone in Scotland to be born on this day, and unlucky for a couple to be married on this day for Greeks.    

  About 187,000 people in the United States currently have this birthday, around 5 million worldwide. As someone with this birthday, I do enjoy having it. All the time though, it’s not the greatest, it can get annoying when people constantly ask questions. The same questions. Usually, I forget that I’m 3.75 years old and a friend will mention it. I’ll be like, “Oh yeah! Cool.”

  When it comes to having a birthday on this day, it’s hard to have a party when you’re young. It needs to be decided by the child’s parents if they’re going to always celebrate on Feb. 28, or March 1. My family thought it’d be better to keep it in February, which I agree with, so we celebrate it on the 28th on non-leap years. This year though, we’re having a sweet 16 and 4 years old party. We always have bigger ones on my real birthdays, and it seems most people do as well. This year it’ll be frog based, as it’s called leap day. 

  There are different names to call people with this birthday, but my favorite is what my mom calls me, “her little Leapling”.