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Leap Year Birthdays

We usually consider a year to have 365 days - which consists of 52 weeks and one day.

However, the solar year - that period of time the earth takes to go around the sun - is actually 365.242190 days. Consequently, to keep our calendar in track with the solar cycle we add a day to the year every February (29th). This happens every four years, slightly over-correcting with an extra .25 days per year.

When do you celebrate your birthday if you are born on February 29 on a leap year? The answer: sometimes on February 28, and sometimes on March 1. Most people choose February 28 to keep the birthday in the same month. In the event the birthday falls in a leap year, it's frequently a bigger celebration - on the 29th!

You might wonder: the approximate correction isn't perfect. How does this correction work in the long run? Since it isn't perfect, every now and then (about every 100 years, for example) we actually skip leap year completely - because that extra day was an overcompensation. So, leap years don't exist in years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400. That keeps our calendar year pretty close to the solar year for the next few thousand years. (Omigosh - what then? Will we celebrate Christmas in the middle of our solar summer?)

Holidays typically fall an a weekday later than the previous year. In the case of a leap year, however, they fall two days later.

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