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Leap Year Highs and Lows

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Most of us have birthdays on the same date each year, but others are posed with a birthday problem. The Leap Year occurs once every four years, meaning February ends on the 29th instead of the 28th. Well known people with Leap Year birthdays include Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, rapper Ja Rule, former president of El Salvador Carlos Humberto Romero, writer Dee Brown, and Pope Paul III.

The Leap Year was first introduced by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, who said any year divisible by four would have an extra day. However, this method led to several unneeded Leap Years. The Julian Calendar was adjusted by the Gregorian Calendar centuries later which declared a year could not be a Leap Year if it was divisible by 100 or 400.

In the world, there are approximately 4 million people with a Leap Year birthday, with about 187,000 of those people living in the United States. The probability of someone being born on February 29th is just one in 1,500, making it quite rare birthday to have. Jesus Alfredo Luna, a student at Los Angeles Mission College in California, shared his thoughts on having a February 29th birthday with The Venture.

“I always celebrate my birthday one way or another. But when my real birthday comes, I celebrate to the fullest,” said Luna. “It’s a love and hate kind of situation to have a Leap Year birthday. It’s cool because it’s unique but I hate it because I only have it every four years. I know it has to do with the earth’s rotation, but to me, it makes no sense to have a birthday every four years.”

Luna also shared the downsides of being born on February 29th.

“First, when we leapers turn 21, we have to wait until March 1st to buy alcohol, which is a downer. Two, we don’t get a golden birthday, for example, when I turn 29, it won’t be on the 29th,” said Luna.

Though having a Leap Year birthday can be frustrating, Luna enjoys his once-every-four-years celebration.

“Overall, it’s a cool day to be born on. I like the shock other people get when they find out I’m a leaper. And also, I love when people say, ‘You actually have a birthday this year!’” said Luna. “It’s a bittersweet feeling.”

Whether you are a Leaper celebrating your birthday or just enjoying an extra day in the year, make sure you have a nice February 29th because you won’t get to have another for the next 1,460 days.



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