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What It’s Like To Be a Leapling

February 18, 2024 5 min read

The year is 2024 and you’ve realized that there is an extra day. Instead of 365 days in a year, there is 366 days this year. Glancing at the calendar, you notice February 29th, a day that comes around every four years.

While this day may be just like any other day, for me it is a day where I finally get to celebrate my birthday. That’s right, I am a leap year baby or what some people like to call a leapling.

What is Leap Year?

A leap year has 366 days, while a regular year has 365 days. This is a calendar year with an extra day added to keep the calendar synchronized with the astronomical year.

If this wasn’t done, the calendar would become misaligned with the astronomical events. Having a leap year helps us keep the calendar system in sync with the astronomical cycle of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Once Every Four Years: My Leapling Life

Being a leapling can be quite fun, but also a bit lonely. Having a birthday on February 29th is quite rare and I have yet to meet anyone with my same birthday. While I grew up celebrating my birthday twice on the 28th and March 1st, I still felt a bit left out when a teacher or a company I was working for forgot to wish me a Happy Birthday because it wasn’t on their calendar. It has also been a hassle when filling out forms online only to find out they don’t have a February 29th option.

My leapling life also consists of people who question my birthday out of curiosity – when do you celebrate your birthday during non leap years? Or how old are you in leap years? I’ve never had an issue answering the questions after all I was born on a unique day! But I’d be lying if I didn’t say the questions weren’t exhausting.

While I still do celebrate my birthday on non leap years, it isn’t the same as celebrating your birthday on your actual day. So when leap year comes around, I make sure to celebrate it.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Leapling

As with everything in life, there are pros and cons of being a leapling. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a leap year baby, but it does have its cons.

Pros

I get to have a week long celebration or celebrate my birthday twice on non leap years.

When my actual birth date comes around, it feels special.

People ask me about it and find it fascinating

It’s hard to forget my birthday

I have a leap year age

There are so many amazing deals for leap year babies and just leap year in general. For leap year babies, I heard of cruises for $29 and for leap year in general, Jeremiah’s is giving out special treats for 29 cents!

Cons

It can get quite lonely to have a birthday that comes every four years

The presidential elections in the U.S. are every four years, which drowns out my birthday. I also get a ton of propaganda in my mail box (not the best birthday present)

Some companies do not recognize February 29th. When filling out forms, there will be an option for February 28th or March 1st.

It comes every four years so I don’t get to celebrate my actual day.

The questions about my birthday can get a bit exhausting, especially since I’ve gotten the same question so many times!

Leapling

Age Math: The Leapling’s Dilemma

I mentioned having a leap year age, which you might be asking yourself – what is that? And this is where the dilemma occurs. Leapling’s were born on a day that comes around every four years, which means that their leap year age is quite different from their actual age.

The leap year age is the number of actual February 29th birthdays they’ve had. In my case, I am about 8 or 9 years old (when in reality, I’m well past my 20s). So it’s not rare to hear someone born on a leap year in their 40s say they are only 12. It’s also a way to calculate how old a person is as well. If someone says they are turning 10, that means they are also turning 40! 10×4 = 40.

The Rarest of Birthdays

I mentioned this previously, but my birthday is the rarest birthday. In fact, only 1 out of 1,461 have a leap year birthday. According to this site, 4.1 million people around the world were born on Feb. 29.

Interesting Leap Year Stories

One of my favorite stories about leap year is that women could propose to men on February 29th. Obviously women can propose at any time now, but back in the 5th century, women were given one day to propose and that was February 29th. There was even a law that if a man refused the woman’s proposal, the men would be fined.

In other parts of the world, there were other traditions, where a man would have to give the woman a dozen pair of gloves if they refused the proposal.

Leapling

Born on the Leap: Embracing My Quirky Birthday

While there have been some challenges with my birthday, I am happy to have a birthday such as February 29th. Not only do I feel special for having such a rare birthday, but I also love telling people all the fun facts and stories I’ve learned about this day.

Leaplings also have a Leap Year Capital of the World, which is Anthony, Texas. This is where the leap year festival occurs for anyone who is a leapling. And if you think that’s awesome, there is also a Leap Year cruise for anyone born on February 29th.

While I may have not met someone born my same day in person, I have met quite a number through the Facebook group, Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.

It may not be the perfect birth date, but it’s the best and I’m glad to be a leapling.

Do you know anyone who was born on February 29th? Let me know in the comments below.

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About Me

Hola!

Hola! I'm Hanny and I have been traveling since the age of three. Although, I grew up traveling, it wasn't until 2013, when I decided to start a blog. Read More

xoxo Hanny

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