Metro Morning

The pros and cons of celebrating a birthday on Feb. 29

Being born in a leap year comes with all kinds of special circumstance.

What it's like being a 32-year-old on your eighth birthday

This Feb. 23, 2016 photo shows a homemade February 2016 calendar illustrating leap year. Feb. 29 is that extra day that rolls around every four years. Leap Year has a rich history, including table-turning marriage proposals fueled by marketing machine and playing directly into gender politics over decades. (AP Photo/Leanne Italie) (Leanne Italie/Associated Press)

On Branden Miller's birthday, he likes age-appropriate celebrations.

In the past, that's meant going to play laser tag, or maybe going to Medieval Times. This Feb. 29, he's had eight birthdays, even though he's 32.

This is a leap year, which means a group of people like Miller are celebrating their birthday on the actual day they were born. Leap years occur every four years to account for the fact the year is slightly longer than 365 days. To even out the calendar with the seasons another day, Feb. 29, is added to the year.

About five million people are born on Feb. 29. Being born in a leap year comes with all kinds of special circumstances.

Miller was a leap year baby in 1984. When he was born, the hospital offered his mother the birth dates of Feb. 28 or March 1, just to make things easier. She declined, requesting the leap year date.

Even still, he frequently has to list his birthday as one of those two dates for automated date selections. For instance, Miller recently got locked out of his insurance plan due to his unique birthday.

For a while he worked in The Beer Store. While checking IDs, he always looked out for other leap year birthdays, but to no avail.

Adina Naida is celebrating her 15th birthday. She is 60.

She leverages her Feb. 29 birthday for better celebrations. "When I was younger, my girlfriend would come for sleepover, set the alarm for midnight on the 28th, and wish me happy birthday right at midnight," she said.

She will also celebrate at different times for the whole week. "Different people can take you to lunch, on a different day, because there isn't that one day," she said.

'I was deprived of birthdays'

Laura Pedersen is having her seventh birthday, turning 28. "I like it now, but when I was a kid, I hated it," she said.

"I was deprived of birthdays."

She said she was often frustrated picking a day to celebrate, but now she just does a two-day celebration on the last day of February and first day of March.

She is also from Alberta, where the drinking age is 18. On her licence it says Feb. 28, so she was able to have a drink a day earlier.

Catherine Hewlett is another leap-year baby, turning 40 on her 10th birthday.

"I remember my parents always had me celebrate on March 1, not Feb. 28. Thought it was crazy to wait an extra day. When I became teen, I promptly switched it to Feb. 28," she said.

Before she was drinking age, Hewlett had a fake ID. She switched the year back, but if a bouncer looked closely or knew the leap years — like Branden Miller did — she would've been caught.


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