Imagine celebrating your Sweet Sixteen at the age of 64? Or having to use a fake birthday for online forms because the computer won’t accept your actual day of birth?
This is the reality for many people born on February 29 – a date that comes along only once every four years. Called “leapers” or “leaplings,” these are individuals who were born on the extra day in February that happens in a leap year.
“The law of averages means your chance of being born on Feb. 29 are one out of 1,461,” Peter Brouwer, the founder of the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies told ABC News. He explains that 1,461 equals 365, or the number of days in the year, times four, plus one for the extra day in the four-year cycle. “We figure in the U.S., there’s about 200,000 of us, and in the world, about 5 million.”
On standard years, most leaplings say they celebrate on February 28 or March 1 – with an extra special celebration when they get to blow out the candles on their true birthday.
In fact, the towns of Anthony, N.M., and Anthony, Texas (both of which are on the line between New Mexico and Texas) host a Worldwide Leap Year Festival every four years during the week of February 29, complete with a carnival, car show and other events.
But it’s not all fun and games. Having a Leap Day birthday can cause bureaucratic hassles and technology meltdowns. Many computerized drop-down menus don’t include February 29.
“[For] my life insurance policy I have to say that I’m born on March 1st because their computer doesn’t accept February 29th. There’s also issues with drivers licenses. One year my license expired on February 29th but it wasn’t a Leap Year,” Brouwer said.
So who’s part of this elite group of leaplings? In addition to the 10,000 members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies – there are a few celebrities who were born on February 29:
– Antonio Sabato, Jr. (1972)
– Ja Rule (1976)
– Mark Foster of the band Foster the People (1984)
– Tony Robbins (1960)
– Dennis Farina (1944)
Do you know anyone who was born on Leap Day?