The “Leaplings”, as those born on February 29 are popularly called, always have to deal with the reality that the calendar only recognies their b’day once every four years. They are even referred to as Leapers, Leapsters and Leap Day babies.
But this does not stop the celebrations, and they are not a small community. There is an estimated 4 million people across the world, whose birthdays fall on the “leap day”. Leap years, as we know, have 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. This extra/intercalary day is added to the shortest month, February.
Leap days keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth’s revolution, around the Sun. Also known as the ‘Bissextile Year’, the extra day keeps the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical year or seasonal year. Check out some of the popular people from across the world who were born on this day!
Morarji Desai (29 Feb 1896 – 10 April 1995)
Rukmini Devi Arundale (29 Feb 1904 – 24 Feb 1986)
Rukmini Devi was a legendary dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967. She was the first woman in Indian history to be nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Now, this is an interesting turn. We are not talking about any of the actors in the Superman movies. According to writer Jerry Siegal, the beloved character was “born” or brought by DC Comics – on leap year day of 1938. The character continues to inspire generations since then.
Born on February 29, 1976, JA Rule is a rapper from Queens, New York. His collaborations earned him fame in the hip-hop Industry. Some of these include the tracks I’m Real and Ain’t It Funny with Jennifer Lopez. He has six ‘Top 10 albums’ to his credit and was nominated for 4 Grammys over the years.
Born in 1992, Sean Anthony Abbot is an Australian professional/international cricketer. Being an all-rounder, Sean made his debut for his team against Pakistan in the UAE. He took the prized wicket of Shahid Afridi in the first over of his T20 debut. On the tragic side, Sean Abbott was ‘broken’ after delivering the ball that killed Australian batsman Phil Hughes in a domestic match in November 2014.
Born in 1984, Rakhee is an English actor known for portraying the role of Shabnam Masood in the BBC Soap opera East Enders. Thakrar has wrote articles about how Bollywood influenced ‘Leicester’ and also about the peculiar situation of being born on February 29.
Born on February 29, 1960, Tony Robbins is an American author, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is known for his seminars and self-help books including the books Unlimited Power (published in 1987) and Awaken the Giant Within (published in 1993). It is estimated that over four million people have attended his inspirational seminars and Robbins was listed on the ‘World Magazine Power 100 list’ in the consecutive years of 2015 and 2016.
So, these Leapsters are always a topic of discussion even when they age just like all of us!
Some interesting facts about Leap day
- The odds of being born on February 29 are 1 in 1,461 or 0. 068 per cent.
- Most countries and territories tend to recognise that a Leap Day baby has legally ‘aged’ on March 1 of non-leap years which includes countries like England and Hong Kong unlike countries like New Zealand and Taiwan where the baby is considered to be ‘legally aged’ on February 28 of non-leap years.
- A family in Norway managed to welcome three children on different Leap Days, each four years after the former. The trio nabbed the record of the most siblings born on the same day in the Guinness Book of World Records. (Karin Henriksen from Norway gave birth to three kids on consecutive Leap Days: Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin).
- A woman and her daughter were both born on Leap Day in the US – while the mother, Michelle Birnbaum was born on February 29, 1980, her daughter Rose was born on February 29, 2008.
- Leapsters can find each other by joining the ‘Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies’.
- In the US in 2016, a 100-year-old woman called Daisy Belle Ward who was born on February 29 celebrated her 25th She was honoured by local city officials; there was gospel music by recording artist Dottie Peoples, and a Centennial Certificate issued by President Barack Obama.