Every four years we add an extra day to the month of February to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. We call this leap year. (Angel Grady/Lariat)
Every year there are people born on New Year’s Eve, Christmas or other widely celebrated holidays that have share their birthday with the rest of the world. It is easy to imagine how they might feel sort of ripped off on their birthday. However, no one should feel more shorted by their birthday than those born on leap year.
Feb. 29 also known as leap year, occurs only once every four years. Though people with this birthday do count each year of age, they do not have the pleasure of celebrating their birth on the actual day. This poses the biggest problem when it is a significant one, like turning 18 or 21.
“I think I hated it most on my 21st because I had to wait till March 1st,” said Cal State Fullerton student, Katie Kimmel, 24. “But I like celebrating it on the 28th of February because that’s my actual birthday month.”
Kimmel turned 24 today but technically she has only had six birthdays. Meaning that when she is almost 50, she can claim that she is really only 12.
Many people do not realize the purpose behind leap year and why we have it. It takes the Earth 365 ¼ days to orbit the Sun which is called a solar year. Our calendar only accounts for 365 days, therefore every four years an extra day is added to February, the shortest month, to make up for the quarter of a day’s of rotation.
Leap year keeps our calendar in alignment with the Earth revolving around the Sun. Leap year happens every four years, but only in centuries that are evenly divided by 400.
According to CNN, Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar that allowed the leap year ever four years, but by 1582, the slight discrepancy in the Julian calendar added up to 10 days. So Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar, coined it leap year and established Feb. 29 as the official date to add to a leap year.
In addition to the leap year, we have the leap second. This second is added to June of last year right before the clock changes to midnight. Though this is not in direct relation to leap year, it is important to take into account. If that second wasn’t added, eventually the time of the middle of the day would be at night.
Those salaried employees might come to find that they are working for free on Feb. 29. If one is an hourly employee, this would not apply. Salary is usually calculated by the number of days in a year and then divided depending on the pay period.
In leap year, this day is not generally included for salaried employees, thus, they are receiving the same wages, but working an extra day. There are those that believe leap year should be a bank holiday. This year happens to be an exception.
CNBC said that this year’s Feb. pushes Dec. 31 to a Saturday making it not an extra day of work. That is not the case every time.
Leap year has its pros and cons, but for those born today, a birthday celebration is finally here.