Junior one of few who gets to celebrate a February 29 birthday


Addison Kania

Imagine being only four years old as a junior in high school. That is what life is like for Shaler Area junior, Emma Burkard. Well, sort of. Emma was born on February 29th, 2004. As of 2021, she has only celebrated her actual birthday a total of four times!
The chances of having a baby on Leap Day are pretty slim. Numberwise, there is only about a 1 in 1,461 chance. This is comparable to the chances of getting Zac Efron to fall in love with you! Of the seven billion people in the world, there are only about five million people who share this birthday.
As this birthday is so unique, many fun memories are made on the day. One of her favorite memories came from her fourth birthday.
“On my fourth birthday, all of the decorations were for a first birthday party. I don’t remember much, but I hear a lot of stories from my parents and relatives about how mad I was about having a baby birthday party,” Burkard said.
Since having a leap year birthday only allows for people to celebrate their actual birthday every four years, it is interesting to wonder why this day was even created in the first place?
When Julius Caesar’s time came, the year kept track of by the Romans and the solar year were completely out of sync. This came as a result of the former consuls shortening or extending the year for their own political means. Julius Caesar, a general-turned-consul, re-ordered the calendar to one that is much like ours today.
During the Roman Empire, Julius Caesar established a calendar based on Egyptian solar calendar which included 365 days. However, Caesar and another philosopher made one modification: add a day to every fourth year. That’s how Leap Day was born! The Julian calendar was set in place on January 1st, 45 BCE.
Now centuries later, the Julian calendar is still used and Leap Year still occurs every four years. This means that all of the people with Leap Day birthdays have to choose when to celebrate during non-leap years. Most commonly leap day birthdays are celebrated when Burkard does, on February 28, or they are celebrated on March 1. It is really up to the family to decide.
While some people may think that not getting to celebrate your actual birthday every year would be disappointing, Burkard actually does not mind it. She finds that having this birthday warrants a lot more positives than any negatives. She also has a much bigger party when her real birthday comes around!
“It’s unique and separates me from a lot of people. Personally, I don’t think there are any cons; it’s pretty cool,” Burkard said.
Of course, having a leap day birthday comes with the jokes like “you’re too young to drive” or “what kind of toy do you want for your birthday?” Burkard also says that people have a look of pure confusion when they find out about her birthday.
“Most people are surprised, but it really depends on the age group. Most people my age have never heard of leap day so they’re usually just confused,” Burkard said.
Although it is an unusual birthday, people born on leap day are considered to be lucky so you may want to start being friends with people who have February 29 birthdays to bring a little luck into your life as well!