Monday is a day that happens only once every four years. February 29th is Leap Day, on which an extra day is added to the calendar at the end of February.
“It is because the time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun is not an integer number, it’s actually 365.24 days,” said Dr. Stelios Kapranidis, an Assistant Professor or Astronomy at USC-Aiken. “So to make up for that fraction of a day you have to add one day every four years so that the seasons sync up with the calendar.”
At Williston-Elko Middle School in Williston, SC, Chara Wooten was celebrating her 12th birthday…or 3rd depending on how you look at it. Her birthday falls on the 29th, meaning this is only the third time in her life she’s been able to celebrate on her actual birthday.
“12,” she said.
“It’s tempting to say sometimes she acts three,” joked her father Jamie Wooten. “But we’re going to celebrate 12 today.”
Musician Ja Rule may be the most famous “leapling”, as they are sometimes called. He spent the better part of Monday tweeting about it. Pope Paul III and motivational speaker Tony Robbins were also born on the 29th.
The odds of being born on February 29th are 1 in 1,461 according to the BBC. That means Chara is…kind of a big deal!
“People are like ‘that’s so cool that your birthday is on the 29th,” said Wooten. “And I’m like…I know!”
Wooten isn’t the first in her family to celebrate on the 29th. She shares the birthday with her late Grandmother.
But even with the adjustment every four years, the calendar still isn’t perfect. For that reason leap year must be skipped three times every 400 years. The next time that will happen is 2100.
In the meantime, you can celebrate with special deals and discounts retailers are using to mark the occasion! Offers may vary by location, so you may want to call ahead:
Pizza Hut – Free 1-Topping Personal Pan Pizza to carryout customers with ID showing February 29th birthday.
McAlister’s Deli – Free cookies for those born on February 29th
Arby’s – Special vegetarian menu available Monday, February 29th only
Hungry Howie’s – Large 1-Topping pizza for 29 cents with purchase of regular-priced large pizza
Krispy Kreme – Dozen glazed donuts for $2.29 with purchase of dozen regular-priced donuts
Olive Garden – Free dessert sampler for anyone born on February 29th and presenting this coupon.