“I literally do not have a birthday three out of four years:” A look into the life of a leap day baby

Maggie Thornton

Every four years, our year has 366 days instead of 365 and February has 29 instead of the usual 28. 

According to an Oxford Journal, Julius Caesar’s astronomical advisers discovered that their year had 365 days and six hours in it. This disrupted the calendar, so they decided to add an extra day to even it out. Since six multiplied by four is 24 and there are 24 hours in a day, having this extra day happen every four years corrects the calendar for the most part. 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that without leap day, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds would be added to each calendar year. This would mean that after 100 years, our seasons would be pushed back by 25 days. Adding the leap year allows for consistency in the calendar. For reference, it would currently be July without leap year.  

February 29 only happens once every four years, so the odds of being born on this day and dubbed the official title of leapling are pretty slim. To be exact, the probability of being born on a leap day is 1/1,461, meaning less than .07% of the world’s population celebrates their birthday on February 29.

So, what’s it like to be in that .07%? According to WKU sophomore Sumeja Hrnjic, it has its ups and downs. 

“I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my birthday,” Hrnjic said. “It’s a great quirky fact to share and fun to talk about, however, I literally do not have a birthday three out of four years.” 

Hrnjic said despite the inconsistency in their birthday, they like it more than not overall because it’s more fun that way. 

Hmjic said they’ve gotten used to being the punchline in jokes about age, especially in middle school where they were constantly referred to as “the smartest 3 year old.” 

Hrnjic said that while it’s sometimes entertaining, it’s also “incredibly annoying.” Not because it bothers them, but because the jokes are unoriginal. “Make up something new and maybe you’ll get me laughing,” Hrnjic said. 

On a non-leap year, Hrnjic celebrates their birthday on the 28th. When asked why they chose the 28th over the 1st of March, Hrnjic responded, “I was obsessed with Justin Bieber and his birthday is the 1st of March. Being 12 and a moron, I could not disrespect his birthday that way. Though I could now care less for Bieber, the tradition stuck and I still celebrate on the 28th.” 

Hrnjic said that on leap years, they typically spend the 28th and the 29th celebrating. This year, they are spending the 28th with friends here at WKU because the 29th will be dedicated to family. 

“I’m really excited to finally have  a birthday this year and I’m excited to spend it with those who I love,” Hrnjic said. 

Features reporter Maggie Thornton can be reached at 502-428-5587 and [email protected] Follow Maggie on social media at @maggie_thornton.