The Uniqueness of a Leap Day Birthday

The Uniqueness of a Leap Day Birthday

Ross Stokes and Faith Pelham welcomed Eli into the world on Leap Day. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County photo.

ROCK SPRINGS – Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County has a leap year baby!

Eli Stokes was born to Faith Pelham and Ross Stokes at 7:21 a.m. Thursday, weighing 8 pounds and 14.7 ounces. This is the second child born to Stokes and Pelham.

“I’m excited,” Pelham said. “It’s unique.”

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The family plans to celebrate Eli’s birthday February 28 during non leap-year years, with a “big, big, big one every four years.”

Everyone Remembers Your Birthday

Green River resident Scott Varley celebrated his 17th birthday February 29 by having a quiet evening with his wife. A few weeks ago, his family threw a joint party for him and his cousin. His cousin turned 65.

Varley said having a leap year birthday is not common, which makes it memorable for friends and family. Varley admits feeling some embarrassment because he struggles to remember birthdates for people but receives birthday messages numerous friends and family because of the unique date.

“It kind of feels lopsided,” he said.

One unique challenge Varley has experienced over the years is when people enter data with his birthdate, computer software doesn’t generally recognize the date unless the year is added in. Varley said he ran into this situation when signing up for social security with the software not initially accepting his birthdate.

Why Have Leap Days in the First Place?

According to the National Air and Space Museum, the planet doesn’t take exactly 365 days to orbit the sun, it takes 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 56 seconds. The extra time needs to be accounted somehow, which is where the concept of a leap day and a leap year comes from. According to the museum, if the time isn’t accounted for, the seasons would drift and after about 700 years, summertime in the northern hemisphere would begin in December.

However, a leap year doesn’t always take place every four years, as creating a leap day every four years actually adds a little more than 44 minutes to the calendar every four years. This can also eventually cause seasons to drift. The last time a leap year was skipped was 1900. The rule used to determine when a leap year is skipped is if the year can be divided by 100, but not 400. The year 2000 had a leap year in its calendar, but 2100 will not.