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Leap Year is back - a look at why February is getting extra time

This year, we have more time on our hands. Sort of.

Leap Year is a phenomenon that happens every four years to help keep our calendar on track with certain holidays and solstices.

The solar year is approximately six hours longer than 365 days, which adds up after awhile. Well, after every four years, to be precise. But unfortunately, the math isn't that simple. According to Wikipedia, a solar year is about 365.2422 days a bit less than 365.25. This means that every 400 years, we skip three Leap Years. When do we do that? Mathematics!

'Each 400-year period has four century years (years divisible by 100), but only one of those is divisible by 400. The century years not divisible by 400 are identified by the Gregorian calendar as the three years in which the usual leap day is omitted. For example, 1600 and 2000 were leap years, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not,' Wikipedia states.

So, Leap Year children, be glad that you were born in this century or you'd be celebrating even fewer birthdays than you normally would. Bummer!

So why all the fuss, anyway? I mean, doesn't all this time we count come out in the wash eventually? Yes, but the interesting

Forever young

For those born on Feb. 29, birthdays are interesting. Most celebrate on either Feb. 28 or March 1, for obvious reasons.

'I like having my birthday on Leap Year because it's unique. [I'm] pretty sure it's less common than Christmas or New Year's,' said Josh Brown, whose Leap Year birthday hit in 1988. 'Growing up we [celebrated] on March 1, being the logic that if it wasn't the 29th it would have been the 1st. However, I turned 21 on the 28th, so since then, we've done it on the 28th.'

When the actual year rolls around, the celebrations tend to pick up their pace.

'I always seem to do a little more on Leap Years, even if it's just going out to dinner or something. People always remember on the Leap Year about my birthday, so I get a lot more 'Happy birthdays,'' said Brown. He noted that some people tended to have a hard time converting how old he was in leap years This year, he'll be six.

Carla Lynch also enjoys celebrating her birthday on Leap Year.

'I like being born on Leap Year. [It] was a little bit of a pain when I was young, because all the kids would make fun of me for not having a birthday, but my parents let me choose when to have my party,' she said in an online interview. 'I have always celebrated it on the 28th on the years with no Leap Year, and got a HUGE party on my real birthday. My dad still doesn't remember my birthday unless it's a Leap Year.'

Lynch decided to keep amethyst as a birthstone, saying it fit her well.

She isn't the only one who enjoys the novelty of her birthday.

'The best thing about having a birthday every four years is that I am really only 10,' she said. My 17-year-old son loves that. When I was younger, I didn't understand it, but as I got older I thought it was pretty cool. And now I like my son being able to say that he is older than me.'

Though our local leapers seem to have a laid back approach to their birthdays, some people have reported some issues to, including not being able to talk to their insurance company because the wrong birthday had been entered (Feb. 28, instead of 29).

Many Leapers reported that their parents or even the doctors tried or offered to change the date on birth records. Some parents felt bad that their children were born on Leap Year; others were thrilled. One doctor was annoyed that he had to deliver five babies on that day. Check out some of the funny accounts at

If you're feeling a mite lonesome on your Leap Year birthday, here's a few famous and quasi-famous Leapers, according to

  • 1948 Willi Smith - Fashion designer.
  • 1948 Yuri Pimenov, USSR, coxless pair rowers (Olympic-silver-1976)
  • 1948 Patricia [Anne] McKillip, US, sci-fi author ('Fool's Run')
  • 1948 Nikolai Pimenov, USSR, coxless pair rowers (Olympic-silver-1976)
  • 1948 Grard Darmon - Actor, France
  • 1952 Bart Stupak, American politician (Rep-D-Michigan)
  • 1952 Raisa Smetanina, USSR, cross country skier (Olympic-gold-1976, 80, 92)
  • 1952 Raul Gonzalez, Mexican 50K speed walker (world record)
  • 1952 Tim[othy] Powers, US, sci-fi author ('Epitaph in Rust,' 'Night Moves')
  • 1952 Randy Jackson, rocker ('Zebra,' 'I Don't Know, I Don't Care')
  • 1952 Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush - Born in Greensboro, North Carolina. She became America's first African-American weather anchor when Detroit, Michigan's WGPR-TV hit the airwaves in 1975; WGPR-TV was the nation's first black-owned and operated television station.
  • 1956 Peter Brouwer (LDB # 1 in the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies) - Founded Leap Year Babies Honor Society (in 1997) and merged with Raenell to become the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.
  • 1956 Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian radio and television personality
  • 1956 Neil Rosenthal (LDB # 57 in the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies) - Poet published by The National Library of Poetry.
  • 1956 Bob Speller, Canadian politician - his father-in-law is also a Leap Day Baby
  • 1956 J. Randy Taraborrelli, American celebritiy journalist
  • 1960 Raenell Dawn (LDB # 39 in the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies) - Founded Leap Year Babies Limited (in 1987) and merged with Peter in 1997 to become the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.
  • 1960 Dan Daoust - NHL center for Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • 1960 Heidi Henriksen - The first of three siblings born on consecutive Leap Days.
  • 1960 Ian McKenzie Anderson, British musician and record producer
  • 1960 Anthony Robbins - American Motivational Speaker
  • 1960 Khaled, Algerian ra musician
  • 1964 James Robert Bruce Ogilvy, the only son of Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy and the late Sir Angus Ogilvy. He is second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1964 Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player
  • 1964 Olav Henriksen - The second of three siblings born on consecutive Leap Days.
  • 1964 James RB Ogilvy, son of English princess Alexandra
  • 1964 Antonella Ponziani - Actress, Director, Italy
  • 1964 Henrik Sundstrom, Sweden, tennis star
  • 1964 Mervyn Warren - Five-time Grammy Award winner (as of 2004), original member of the vocal group "Take 6"
  • 1964 Jahred Shane, Afro-Brazilian rapper/singer
  • 1968 Suanne Braun, South African-born actress
  • 1968 Chucky Brown, NBA forward (Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks)
  • 1968 Cary Conklin, NFL quarterback (SF 49ers)
  • 1968 Gareth Farr - Composer and Percussionist, born in Wellington, New Zealand
  • 1968 Pete Fenson, American curler
  • 1968 Naoko Iijima, Japanese actress
  • 1968 Leif-Martin Henriksen - The third of three siblings born on consecutive Leap Days.
  • 1968 Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist and filmmaker
  • 1968 Bryce Paup, American football player, NFL linebacker (Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills)
  • 1972 Cyrus Beasley, Rowe NY, rower (Olympics-1996)
  • 1972 Fabien Bownes, NFL wide receiver (Chic Bears)
  • 1972 Chris Devine, Allentown Pa, diver (Olympics-96)
  • 1972 Mark Farraway, CFL offensive linebacker (Edmonton Eskimos)
  • 1972 Antonio Sabato, Jr. - Italian-born actor
  • 1972 Dave Williams, American singer (Drowning Pool) (d. 2002)
  • 1972 Saul Williams - Rap Poet, Actor, USA - Member, Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies
  • 1972 Pedro Zamora, Cuban-born American AIDS activist (d. 1994)
  • 1976 David Kendall Sr. - Actor, USA
  • 1976 Bryan Gillooly, Auburn NY, diver (Olympics-96)
  • 1976 Ja Rule - American Rapper and Actor
  • 1980 Eric Benz - Actor, Germany
  • 1980 Simon Gagne, Canadian Hockey player, NHL player (LA Kings) who has been an all-star
  • 1980 Taylor Twellman, American soccer player
  • 1984 Darren Ambrose, English footballer
  • 1984 Cam Ward, Canadian hockey player
  • 1984 Adam Sinclair, Indian Hockey player
  • 1988 Scott Golbourne, English footballer
  • 1992 Caitlin E.J. Meyer - Actress

We want to wish all Leap Year birthday celebrants a very happy birthday!

A giant leap

Leap Year has been around since before the Gregorian Calendar was implemented. But it was really that enactment that changed the face of all of our calendars.

If you're curious, here's a list of all the Leap Years from 1600 on:

1600, 1604, 1608, 1612, 1616, 1620, 1624, 1628, 1632, 1636, 1640, 1644, 1648, 1652, 1656, 1660, 1664, 1668, 1672, 1676, 1680, 1684, 1688, 1692, 1696, 1704, 1708, 1712, 1716, 1720, 1724, 1728, 1732, 1736, 1740, 1744, 1748, 1752, 1756, 1760, 1764, 1768, 1772, 1776, 1780, 1784, 1788, 1792, 1796, 1804, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1820, 1824, 1828, 1832, 1836, 1840, 1844, 1848, 1852, 1856, 1860, 1864, 1868, 1872, 1876, 1880, 1884, 1888, 1892, 1896, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

The next Leap Year of course hits in 2016 here's hoping the Gregorian Calendar trumps the Mayan one.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 11:37


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