Life of a leap year baby

By Annabeth Carlson

The month of February quickly leads into March, a transition that may not be significant to most people in their everyday lives. But to some, an important day is often missing: Feb. 29. 

Feb. 29 is the last day of the month on leap years, which happen every four years. Normally, the month ends on the 28th. According to History.com, leap years originated in 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar decided to add one day every four years to align the lunar and solar calendars.

So what happens to people who are born on the leap day, Feb. 29?

Melody Chiang, junior in LAS, does not know the answer.

“I imagine they might celebrate their birthday in March,” she said.

Imani Griffin, freshman in Social Work, said she thinks she would feel down if she had a leap year birthday.

“It depends on your culture or how significant birthdays are for you, but (on leap years) you could celebrate it in a big way,” Griffin said.

For Andrew Michael Young, a 45-year-old man from Fenton, Mo., with a leap year birthday, the answer has always been a sense of humor.

Young was born on Feb. 29, 1968 at 10 p.m., just missing the cutoff to have a normal birthday by two hours. Growing up, he decided to celebrate on Feb. 28 instead.

“It seemed stupid to me to celebrate it in the month of March when that is not when I was born,” Young explained.

Young said people think his leap year birthday is weird, often asking questions and making fun of it. He said he understands their confusion.

“It’s weird how one day every four years has to be so different,” he said.

It is rare to find other people with leap year birthdays, but through his career with the criminal justice system, Young has met at least two other people who share this circumstance.

In his life, Young has technically only had 11 birthdays so far, something he likes to bring up as a joke to adults as he grows older. He said the funniest occurrence was when he turned 21. Because it was not a leap year, he went out to celebrate on Feb. 28. Young was turned away at the bar because it was not technically his birthday. Luckily, he said he found a bar that understood his situation. 

Griffin said that if she was in that position, she would have a really big celebration when her actual birthday came around.

This has been the case for Young. On his 10th leap year and 40th birthday, his wife threw him a surprise party and invited family members from all over. It was the best time, Young said. 

Unfortunately, 2014 is not a leap year. The next time Young will be able to celebrate his birthday will be in 2016.

In the meantime, Young will continue to explain this unique aspect of his life lightheartedly, with a one-liner that he said is a fun way to talk about a confusing subject:

“Sometimes somebody really special comes into the world, and God has them born on the 29th to designate that they are special.”

Annabeth can be reached at [email protected]