Carolyn Husk delivered her daughter at 11:31 a.m. at Akron General Medical Center. The year was 1992. And the day was an unusual one, February 29, known as leap day.
“Whenever I’m in a group setting and they ask everyone to tell something interesting about themselves, that’s my go-to answer … that I was born on February 29,” said 23-year-old Husk. “I’m still amazed by how many people say they’d never met a leap year person.”
The day is a mathematical anomaly.
It comes around roughly only once every four years.
That’s because it takes the Earth a little longer than 365 days to orbit the sun—365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, to be exact. The idea of adding a leap day dates to the Romans, though the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the practice in the 16th century.
So, generally, February 29 is added every four years, with the exception of any year that’s divisible by 100, unless that same year also is divisible by 400. For example, the year 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not and 2100 will not be, either.
“I remember being a teenager and being kind of disappointed,” said Husk, a 2010 graduate of Marlington High School and 2014 graduate of Kent State University. “But everybody … my friends all thought it was cool.”
Birthdays in her family, which includes three sisters and a brother, typically were celebrated on the nearest weekend anyway. Still, Husk said, she often craved the experience of a special day.
When February 29 rolls around this year for the first time since 2012, she plans to make it a special birthday.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Husk, who holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and works as an event coordinator at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
Husk recalls her 12th birthday, in 2004. Goodyear was giving away free rides on the blimp to the first 25 “leaplings” who showed up, birth certificates in hand. She dragged her dad out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to get a good place in line.
To no avail.
However, she did win a raffle for a free blimp ride.
“That turned out pretty special,” she said. “I didn’t realize how small it was where you actually sit. There was a lot of tilting back and forth … but I met a lot of people born on February 29 that day.”
Then, there was 2013, when she turned 21.
“I got my first legal drink a day early,” she said, of her sangria at an Applebee’s restaurant on February 28.
• Antonio Sabato Jr., Dinah Shore and Jimmy Dorsey all were born on February 29
• Has become date of the pseudo-holiday Sadie Hawkins Day
• About 200,000 people in the U.S. were born on February 29
• The probability of being born on February 29 is 0.000639
• The practice of adding a leap day began in 46 B.C.
• Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar
• Leap year coincides with presidential election years in the U.S.
• People born on February 29 are commonly called “leaplings” or “leapers”
• Leap day falls on a Monday this year