the paradox of a leap year birthday and other ramblings of an 11 year old
"Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone
Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine."
– old saying
Yup! 29 February. It's a real day. But only every 4 years. Imagine having your birthday on that day..Well I don't have to imagine. I do!
Peeps with my birthday are often called 'leapers' or 'leaplings' and I lost count years ago of how many frog cards I've gotten... .. Tangent.. .. The Australian rocket frog can leap over two metres. I can't leap that far. I have stumpy legs.
I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember what I learnt about the leap year and how it came about. Surely I learnt that in school at some point?
That makes this bit more for my benefit rather than yours.
(scroll down if you are a smarty pants and you DO remember) Hmmmmmmm..
So where did the whole thing start? I know that February 29 is a date that usually occurs every four years, and is called leap day. I found that this day was added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. Last but not least, the Gregorian calendar is a modification of the Julian calendar first used by the Romans.
It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year.
Without this extra, or intercalary, day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, a calendar without leap years would be off by approximately 24 days!! That would put everything out of whack!!
Leapers like me count both common birthdays and leaps, and the in-betweens.. I have been whole birthdays and I've been quarters. And I still don't know my 4 times tables! Which is both sad and funny AF!
"I've never met anyone with your birthday before!".. I've heard that a few times in my life.
Being a leapy, I'm a bit of an individual.. .. For the world‘s population approximate 4.8 million have a February 29th birthday.
Another article said that The odds of a child being born on February 29 are 1 in 1641. It would have been soooo cool if one of my baby girl's would have shared my birthday.. .. However, the odds of both a mother and daughter sharing that birthday are somewhere in the range of 2 million to one. Needless to say that did not happen.
What day do I celebrate?
My mum says first of March "you weren't here in February", but I've always pushed it out over two days.. #attentionseekingmuch
.. ... I mean if the day doesn't technically exist that year when would be the exact time that's my birthday?? I've never worked that out!! And.. Would my birthday last for one minute? Or 22 and 3 seconds? Who knows?
My nieces and nephew love telling me I'm only 11. I love to correct them telling them that I'm really going to be "11 and a half thank you very much!".. "We're older than you Aunty Pauline!" is another favourite. They lurv that whole idea. It's hilarious!
I remember that I received a bunch of baby cards when I was 4! (like I was a 1 year old) They were all pink with little combs in them. I don't actually remember, my mum kept them. Hilarious!
Here's some random facts about Feb 29 in 1972:
- February 29, 1972 was a Tuesday and it was the 60th day of the year in 1972. Apparently the next time I can reuse my old 1972 calendar will be in 2028 which BTW I don't have!! Hilariously, both calendars will be exactly the same, except of course dates for Easter and other irregular holidays that are based on the lunisolar calendar.
- South Korea withdrew 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.
- -In Australia that year Ernie Barber (born 1895), the Australian rules footballer (South Melbourne) passed away.
Here's some other stuff that is known to have happened on the 29th of February:
1692 - Salem witch trials.. The first people were accused.. Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba a West Indian slave.
1832 - Charles Darwin walks through the tropical forests of Bahia in Brazil, describing the experience as being in "transports of pleasure"
1960 - Hugh Hefner opened his first Playboy Club on February 29. I bet there's a bunch of people happy with that!
1964 - Dawn Fraser set a new World Record in the 100 metre freestyle (58.9 seconds).
1988 - Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a 5 day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town.
2012 - tallest building in the world, the Tokyo Skytree is completed.
I am pretty spesh..even if I say so myself. But especially when you look at my lifetime achievements and milestones. I hope you're sitting down!
- I started school when I was 1!
- I went through puberty when I was 3.
- I was driving a car when I was 4 and drinking legally when I was 5!
- At 10 I had been nursing since I was 8 and 3/4!
- Plus! I'm sooooo going to be the youngest nursing home resident at 21!
I'm in good company you know! Ja Rule shares my exact birthday. Well.. If you like rap. I don't. I'd rather share my birthday with Ben Harper.
To be honest with you when it's a year that I actually get a real birthday they're kinda overrated.. How boring is it having just one day? Birthdays should last as long as they can and when you're used to 2 full days it's a total buzz killer to be normal. I'd hate to have a normal birthday now.
There's even superstitions and traditions that surround my birthday:
- When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.
- There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently, one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.
- Some people believe that February 29 is a lucky day! But then on the flip side there's a bunch who believe the total opposite!
- Parties are sometimes thrown to celebrate leap days. There is no special leap day food but if there was, it would probably be frog’s legs.
- Some regions like Scotland believe that no farming activity should be carried out on a leap year – that means no harvesting, sowing or buying new equipments, etc. It just spells a bad year for the entire crop if sowed or harvested or tilled first on a leap day.
- There’s a superstition that the number of deaths suddenly spike and a lot more people die in the leap year. But then, aren’t we all dying already. I mean, no one is immortal … So yeah, the increased number of deaths if not fictional could be because of one entire extra day. Reason enough for deaths to increase!
- Then.. .. Astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents, such as the ability to burp the alphabet or paint like Picasso. Neither of which I can do. Totes lucked out there.
So my next real birthday is 2020. It falls on a Saturday, which means party time! Excellent! I'll be 12 years old. I'll send out invitations soon.
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But.. Don't forget to always shine brightly!