Mercy Welcomes 2012 Leaplings

March 2, 2012

Some of Mercy's Leaplings

By Mercy's Laura Keep

It’s the world’s most unlikely birthday. The chances are just one in 1,461 that you’ll be one of earth’s five million people with a Feb. 29 birthday. The rest of us share our birth date with more than 19 million people.

“Every one of the babies born here is precious,” said Jared Bryson, vice president of mission for Mercy in Fort Smith. “But when you’re only going to be able to truly celebrate your birthday every four years, you have to make them all count!”

Technically, “leaplings” or “leapers,” as they’re often called, will have fewer birthday anniversaries than their age in years. For example, a 40-year-old born Feb. 29 will only celebrate 10 birthday anniversaries. In common years, leaplings usually celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1.

Why leap year?
The calendar has 365 days in a year, but in fact, it takes 365 days and six hours for the earth to revolve around the sun. This means that the calendar is actually falling behind by 6 hours every year and left unchecked, the seasons would shift over time. So in 45 BC, Julius Caesar proclaimed every fourth year a leap year.

Famous leap year babies
Among the more well known leap day birthdays are those of Pope Paul III born in 1468, singer Dinah Shore born in 1916, actor Dennis Farina born in 1944, motivational speaker Tony Robbins born in 1960 and rapper Ja Rule born in 1976.

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