Most people don’t notice the extra day tagged onto February—but people born on Feb. 29 have been awaiting its arrival for four years.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has more than 40 alumni dating back to class of 1970 who have leap year birthdays.
Alumna Annette Resop ’95, of Oshkosh, is one of those unique individuals who was born on the day that only officially happens once every four years.
Leap day babies—or leaplings—regularly celebrate their birthdays in common years (a year with 365 days). Some celebrate on Feb. 28, some prefer March 1.
Leaplings must endure far more explanations for their “odd birth date”—and a few more headaches, too.
The effective legal date of a leapling’s birthday in non-leap years varies between jurisdictions. In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, when a person born on Feb. 29 turns 18 in a non-leap year, they are considered to have their birthday on March 1 in the relevant year. In Taiwan (Republic of China), the legal birthday of a leapling is Feb. 28 in common years, as stated by online sources.
“In terms of presents and cake, leap day babies can have their pick between Feb. 28 and March 1. But legally, things are a bit murkier in non-leap year,” Mental_Floss reported.
Resop had issues with the Department of Motor Vehicles because her her extraordinary date of birth.
“Once, when computers were new, I was at the DMV renewing my license, the computers shut down because the renewal date wasn’t in a leap year,” she said. “They have solved this by having March 1 as a renewal date.”
Leapings also get far fewer official birthdays. Resop said celebrating her birthday was an even more special occasion than usual birthdays.
“When I was younger it was a big deal because my family held big parties for me,” she said. “Now, I celebrate whenever my husband of 30 years takes me out.”
Resop was a history major when she attended UWO. She’s now branch manager at Capital Credit Union.