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February 29, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

HAPPY LEAP DAY....I figure I probably have 30 or 40 readers who were born on February 29. So this question is for you: when do you celebrate your birthday in non-leap years? February 28? Or March 1?

Kevin Drum 11:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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At midnight between the two, during the tolling of a slow chiming clock.

Posted by: MaryCh on February 29, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

In the Twilight Zone...

I'm not a Leap Day baby, though, just couldn't resist a joke.

Posted by: Swan on February 29, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

My Dad is a leap year baby and we celebrate it for several days. The day before, the day of and the next day.
He is 18 this year!

Posted by: Tang on February 29, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

November 9

Posted by: sal on February 29, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I was not born on Feb 29th, but if I were, I would probably not celebrate my birthdays on days other than Feb 29 - can you imagine that? I would be 8 years old now!!!!!

Posted by: Tricolaco on February 29, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

My grandfather lived to be 100, so under ordinary circumstances, I might live to be 100 as well.

But since I was born on February 29, I only have a birthday every 4 years, so I'm probably going to live to be 400.

Just kidding! I was really born on December 11.

Posted by: nemo on February 29, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Just pointing out something else about leap years of interest to wage slaves:

If payday is Friday, only once in 28 years are there 5 paydays in February. Whoopee this is the year! But I need 6 or 7 anyway.

Posted by: slanted tom on February 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I usually go on a bender starting on President's Day and regain consciousness a few days after St. Patrick's Day.

Posted by: Cheney's Third Nipple on February 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

new posts on my blog

Posted by: Swan on February 29, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

My mother was a leap day baby and in off years always celebrated on Feb. 28. Her reasoning was it was bad enough to not celebrate on the right date so you may as well get the month right.

Posted by: Bob on February 29, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

My daughter's 5th birthday is today. Next year will be her "Pirates of Penzance" birthday (a paradox, a paradox...). We always celebrate her birthday around the Fed 28th or Mar 1st. This year we're actually having the gig tomorrow. Her friend is flying in this evening and we'll be having the big party on the first.

Actually, with most of our kids birthdays, leap day or not, the BIG party was almost always on the most convenient day in the closest weekend. That makes it easier for friends and family to participate.

Posted by: gaardvark on February 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

gaardvark: if it's her 5th, then wasn't she born in 2003, a non-leap year?

Posted by: tom veil on February 29, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

August 23. Oh, you were just talking to the 30 or 40. Sorry.

Posted by: tomeck on February 29, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I was not born on Feb 29th, but if I were, I would probably not celebrate my birthdays on days other than Feb 29 - can you imagine that? I would be 8 years old now!!!!!

Let's at least get the terminology straight.

Someone born on Feb. 29, 1960 (for instance) who is alive today would be celebrating his/her 12th birthday today.

However, that person would be 48 years old today.

That's because even if you didn't have a birthday last year, the year still happened, and so did you, so you're still a year older.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on February 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

I know this posting is just an excuse to get someone to mention The Pirates of Penzance, which will lead to someone else mentioning how fun it is to make a Gilbert and Sullivan version of a contemporary song, and soon enough, you'll have some gentleman in a pith helmet lauding the above-average-sized callipygian quarters of womankind.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: jon on February 29, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

My birthday is not Feb 29 but my wedding anniversary is. We've tended to celebrate "around" the end of Feb depending on the days of the week. For our 1st 2 "true" anniversaries, we renewed our vows--had a big party for the 1st one. For the 2nd one, we took our 2 mo old to a JP and did our vows. For the 3rd anniversary, my wife said not to push my luck. We've gotten over that by now, having reached our 8th anniversary (!!) and we're going out to dinner with friends tonight.

Posted by: jeff on February 29, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Also married on the 29th (1992) - we celebrate our on the last day of February, whenever that is.

Posted by: JB on February 29, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

My parents' best friends' son killed himself on Feb. 29. My parents believe that he chose this date so his folks wouldn't see that painful anniversary come around every year. I think that if the poor guy had been in any condition to think about such things, he'd have declined to blow his head off with a shotgun in his parents' living room so they could find him a week later upon their return from vacation.

Sorry for that bummer. It's been kind of a sad morning. Happy birthday to all leap day babies.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the birthday or anniversary would be the day after February 28.

I was born on a Friday the 13th and love it :-)

Posted by: mroberts on February 29, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

And anniversary greetings to all leap day wedding peeps.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

My birthday is June 15, but in college I knew a woman whose birthday was February 28th. So every year, someone, without thinking, would ask whether she celebrated her birthday on February 28th or March 1st.

Drove her nuts.

Posted by: David Bailey on February 29, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

If one's birthday is the day one is 365 days older, wouldn't that be March 1 on most years?

Posted by: elisabeth on February 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you know, Little Orphan Annie was born on Feb. 29 and didn't celebrate her birthday at all save every 4 years. This probably explains why she aged so gracefully.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

This probably explains why she aged so gracefully.

She's lucky she's alive at all. It's a miracle no one offed her by the sixth bar of "Tomorrow."

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Per someone in my office who was born today, "whichever day is closer to the weekend, but my mother calls me on both days and sings happy birthday."

And then I asked why no one has invented the opposite of the mute button on phones: a button where you can't hear what the other person is saying. And of course it would need a sensor to note long pauses, so you can insert a "you don't say" or "that's so funny."

Posted by: John on February 29, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

elisabeth,
Yes. Strangely enough, by this definition someone born the day after a February 29 baby would share birthdays every year starting at age one (i.e., Mar 1, Mar 1, Mar 1, Feb 29).

Posted by: jeri on February 29, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

gaardvark: if it's her 5th, then wasn't she born in 2003, a non-leap year?

uh... she's 20 years old and this is her 5th (February 29th) birthday...

Posted by: on February 29, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I figure I probably have 30 or 40 readers who were born on February 29.

What, do you hang out with that crowd, Kevin? Leap-Dayers?

Posted by: Swan on February 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Many responses talking about celebrating for more than one day. In my extended family, that is refered to as "the birthday season", and is the entirely correct answer, Feb 29 or otherwise.

Happy birthday or anniversary, etc to all.

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I always wondered how many visitors you had Kevin. Some quick math:

4x30=120
120x365= +43,800

Not to shabby.

Posted by: corndog on February 29, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

gaardvark beat me to the Pirates of Penzance.

Frederick the orphan pirate was born on Feb 29 approx. 1858 (he was 21 when the first productions occurred in 1879) and he would be officially 21 in 1943. Until then, of course, he would have to remain an apprentice Pirate.

Posted by: PowerOfX on February 29, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK
If one's birthday is the day one is 365 days older, wouldn't that be March 1 on most years?

Well, no. Assuming you were born on Feb. 29, 2008, and celebrated a birthday on each day that you were 365 days older, that would be:

(2/29/2008 + 365) February 28, 2009
(2/28/2009 + 365) February 28, 2010
(2/28/2010 + 365) February 28, 2011
(2/28/2011 + 365) February 28, 2012
(2/28/2012 + 365) February 27, 2013
etc.

A rule that gets you March 1 every year except leap years, and gets everyone else the expected date every year, is that you celebrate on the day when you are 365 days older unless a February 29th fell on your last birthday celebration or any of the 365 subsequent days, in which case you celebrate when you are 366 days older than your last birthday.

(This rule has the effect that jeri suggested applies elisabeth's original rule, of course.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

This is painful to me since I was due on Feb 29, 1944 but I came a week early. I should have been born the day that Frederick, pirate lad, was out of his indenture. Gilbert says 1940 but Asimov explains that Gilbert probably forgot (or at least has Mabel forget) that 1900 was not a leap year.


Posted by: Bostonian in Brooklyn on February 29, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely is right. So when I wrote yes, I must have meant no. Oops.

Posted by: jeri on February 29, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I was born of Feb. 28. I can't tell you the number of people who, upon hearing this, say "oh, you were almost a Leap Year baby!" My response: "That's right, as long as my mother was two years and one day late."

Posted by: mert7878 on February 29, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, for the truly geeky (and/or past masters of Truly Trivial Pursuit).

Leap years happen every year divisible by 4, unless they are also divisible by 100, in which case February wanes to its customary diminutive status. Unless they are also divisible by 400, in which case, February waxes full again.

Happily, I won't be around to see this fought over by the Very-Latter-Day Creationists…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year


Posted by: Glen on February 29, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Used to be Feb 28, so that I could be one year older just a little faster. Changed it to March 1, after I turned 40

Posted by: michael ryan on February 29, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Leap years happen every year divisible by 4, unless they are also divisible by 100, in which case February wanes to its customary diminutive status. Unless they are also divisible by 400, in which case, February waxes full again.

That's right -- so there was no Feb. 29, 1900, and if you ever see it in a novel (which I did once), its credibility is undermined.

Because of this, the famed director William Wellman, who was born on Feb. 29, 1896, never celebrated his actual birthday until he was eight. http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/60421.html

Posted by: Vincent on March 1, 2008 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Nice of you to ask! ;-)

Yeah, nice to have a leap year birthday for a change. Always a Presidential election and the Olympics when I have a b-day.

If there's no 29th, celebrate the 28th. As the person said above, have to celebrate in the correct month, at least!

I can lie about my age without, uh, lying...

Posted by: clem on March 1, 2008 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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