Today, those born Feb. 29 can do something they don’t get to do often – celebrate their birthday on their actual birthday.
When your birth date only comes once every four years, it can be a conversation piece when people notice it, said Didier Norris, who is celebrating his 14th birthday and his 56th year.
“People catch it every now and then. For example, I may be buying something at a department store and when I show my ID, sometimes, someone will notice the date,” he said. “They’ll notice that your birthday lands on a day that comes around every four years. It doesn’t come up all the time, but when it does, it becomes a great conversation piece.”
Norris isn’t the only one in his family born on the date. His second cousin, Emily Garrigue, who lives in his hometown of Sete, France, was also born on Feb. 29. She’s celebrating her sixth birthday and 24th year.
“I think that’s interesting. It’s interesting to have two people in your family born on that date,” he said.
Birthday celebrations are a big part of many children’s memories of growing up. Despite the rare date, it wasn’t any different for Norris.
“I never missed a birthday when I was a kid,” he said. “Just because my actual birthday didn’t come that year, it didn’t mean that we didn’t celebrate.”
On nonleap years, he observes his birthday on Feb. 28.
“My feeling is that I’m a February baby so I should celebrate it in February, not March,” he said.
Today, he plans to celebrate by going out to eat with his wife and meeting up with several friends, he said.
Donnell and Shannon Jones are excited about getting to celebrate the first birthday and fourth year of their oldest child, Tristen.
When Shannon gave birth to Tristen at 6:22 p.m. Feb. 29, the significance of the date was the furthest thing from their mind, she said.
“At the time, it didn’t occur to me that we were having a leap year baby,” she said.
“I had been at the hospital for so long that honestly, I had forgotten what date it was,” Donnell added.
When they did realize the date, it didn’t bother them that they would have to adjust birthday celebrations for other years, they said.
“It’s something special he can always talk about,” Donnell said.
Like Norris, the Joneses say the birthday can be a good conversation piece.
“When people do notice it they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s a leap year baby!’ and then they ask when we celebrate his birthday,” Shannon said.
The past few years, the Joneses have observed Tristen’s birthday on March 1 and held a birthday celebration for him during the weekend.
“We’re having a big cookout at the park and inviting all of his friends,” Shannon said about this year’s celebration.
Tristen has already named several things he would like to do or get for his birthday, including “a train to ride on.”
As for explaining the special date to him when he gets older, “we’ll tell him he’s a very special baby and because of his birthday, he’ll be young forever,” Donnell said.