Bissextile Year

February 29, 2012 by staff 

Bissextile Year, Every four years we get to add a day to the end of February. The 29th day of February is needed so that our calendar year can stay synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. The seasons and astronomical events don’t repeat in a whole number of days, so we need to readjust our calendar to line up with our place in the sky. Otherwise, the seasons would start to drift around the year.

Other calendars besides our Gregorian calendar handle this drift in different ways, with most lunisolar calendars adding whole months such as the Hebrew and Chinese calendars.

However the adjustments are handled, one of the most obvious effects is one birthdays. People born on February 29th in a Leap Year see their birthdate disappear for 3 years at a time. They can celebrate on February 28 or March 1, with many saying they are only their age divided by 4, because they’ve only had that many actual birthdays.

Michele Birnbaum of Saddle River, New Jersey, gave birth to her daughter, Rose, beating the 1 in 2 million odds four years ago, 2/29/08, because she too was born on February 29th, 1980. Michele is now 32, but it is only her 8th birthday. Rose is now 4, or for ‘leaplings’ this is her first birthday.

For more information, check out:

Are you born on February 29?

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