It’s the world’s most unlikely birthday. The chances are just one in 1,461 that you’ll be one of earth’s 5 million people with a Feb. 29 birthday. The rest of us share our birth date with more than 19 million people.
Courtney Carter is an echocardiography technologist at Mercy Hospital Springfield. She said she enjoys the distinction of her birth date.
"Being born on February 29 is special because it keeps my birthday interesting since I seldom get to celebrate on my real birthday," Courtney said. "Being born on Leap Day adds extra fun to the day since it is so unusual. I will be 'six' years old for this birthday!"
“Every baby is precious, and Mercy is proud to have a part in so many growing families,” said Trish Geldbach, vice president Mercy Women’s Services. “But for those new arrivals, whose birthdays only come around once every four years, their day is certainly extra special.”
Why leap year?
A Leap Day needs to be added to the calendar every four years because it takes the Earth just less than 365 days and six hours to revolve around the sun. This means that the calendar is actually falling behind by about six hours every year.
To keep the calendar in line with the seasons Julius Caesar implemented the Julian Calendar in 45 BC to add one extra day every four years at the end of February, which was the last month of that calendar year.
Because the planet’s trip around the sun is actually about 11 minutes short of 365.25 days, adding a leap year every four years is just a little bit too often. So in 1585, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar we use today with leap years every four years except for turn of the century years not divisible by four. We had a Leap Day in 2000, but not in 1900 or 1800, and there will not be one in 2100.
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.