Marcia Strykowski

Every Four Years…

Today’s another special day in my family—Leap Year! And my son gets to celebrate his birthday on an actual calendar day again this year. I always thought it was kind of fun for him to be born on such a unique day, and of course someone as special as him (pictures below) certainly deserved an extraordinary start in life. 🙂leap frogsLeap year has 366 days, or one more day than an ordinary year. A leap year occurs in every year that can be divided evenly by four, except the years that mark the even hundreds, such as 1500. The only century years that are leap years are those that can be divided evenly by 400, such as 1600 and 2000. Leap years were added to the calendar to make the calendar year nearly the same as the solar year, which is the time it takes for the sun to pass the vernal equinox twice.

It wasn’t easy to figure out how to resolve this and took several calendar attempts to get it right, including the year when people went to bed one night and then woke up the next morning, eleven days later! At one point, February always had 29 days (30 on Leap Years), but when the Roman Senate named a month for Augustus, they decided August should take a day from February to match July, his Great Uncle Julius’s 31 day month.

Now the extra day is quite simply added to the end of February every four years. The odds of being born on February 29 are said to be 1461 to 1. But some families seem to beat these odds. leap year quadsAside from a Canadian set of quadruplets (born on the same day as my son), the following people take the prize. Heidi, Olav and Leif Henrikson, three siblings in Norway were all born on Leap Year day, 1960, 1964, and 1968 respectively. And more recently there is a family in Utah, as well as the Fernandez family of New York.

Down on the Rio Grande River near the border of Mexico, the Chamber of Commerce in the small state-line town of Anthony, New Mexico—Texas, has changed the trend of taking Leap Year for granted. Anthony has a population of about 8,000. Just in time for the 1988 celebration of Leap Year, the two town governors joined the Chamber of Commerce in naming Anthony, “Leap Year Capitol of the World.” Anthony is also the home of the World-wide Leap Year Birthday Club. Every February 29th begins a four day festival of events for club members, families, and friends.
PostcardLeapYearBeCarefulClara1908

PostcardLeapYearPATH1908There’s a centuries-old somewhat corny tradition in many countries that Feb. 29th is the one time a woman can propose marriage to a man. (Brings up memories of the light-hearted movie Leap Year starring Amy Adams.) Many modern women choose to follow this tradition as a fun engagement story, others propose whenever they darn well feel like it.

These two pictures are as fuzzy as my hairdo because they were pulled from an old videocassette of the two of us enjoying story time together on a hot summer’s day. Notice my little leapling’s good choice in books.
baby d 3baby d 2Happy Birthday to the best son ever! ❤ your very proud mom.d mix

35 Comments

  1. Bette Norton

    What a wonderful post about leap year! I never knew the history behind it. So we have the month of August to blame! 🙂 I love the old time pictures you posted of Sadie Hawkins Day! Not sure how it got that name, but I believe it is when the girl asked the man to marry her and another name for Leap Year Day!! I know Sadie Hawkins dances were popular too! There must of been a Sadie Hawkins once upon a time. A beautiful tribute to your leap year son!

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    • Sadie Hawkins Day is in November. It originated in the Li’l Abner comic strip (with not so good intentions) and has been celebrated ever since. As you mention, the illustrations on the postcards would work equally well for both events. Thanks for adding this, Bette!

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  2. How neat he was born on the 29th! But then to have a disappearing birthday, poor kid, lol! Happy birthday to your son!

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  3. Michelle

    Happy Birthday to your son !

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  4. Happy birthday to your son! Fun to learn the history behind this, and love the reading pics. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Yvonne. Who knew, back before I even owned a computer, I’d someday be able to publicly share our private Goodnight Moon storytime–amazing times we live in.

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  5. Happy Birthday to your leap year, handsome son!! A great article on leap year too.

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  6. Sweet pictures. Happy bday to your son 🙂

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  7. slochman

    Wonderful post!

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  8. Michele Sova

    Great pictures! He’s changed a lot from the photos I have of him when he was little!! Happy Birthday!

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  9. Lovely photos and happy birthday to your son!

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  10. Ashley

    Your leap year baby is adorable and now a handsome man!!

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  11. Hi Marcia, Happy Belated Birthday to your son. Sorry for the delay, I have had internet problems, but that is a long story.
    Thanks for the history of the leap year, so interesting 🙂 Hope you are well and having a good day. 🙂

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    • Hope your internet problems have resolved and thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Lynne!

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  12. I’m wishing your son a very happy belated birthday, loved the photos and the post. Goodnight Moon is such a special book – excellent choice.

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    • Thank you, Barbara. Goodnight Moon was certainly a popular book in our house and I was thrilled to discover I had these pictures. 🙂

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  13. Love the picture of his happy face while you are reading!

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  14. Marcia– this was so much fun! I’d forgotten about women proposing on the leap year day. And never knew the history back to the caesars! I would have guessed leap was much for modern! –and– finally loved seeing the photo of you reading with your son– we had a couple of blond little boys who loved books (Including Goodnight Moon). Is he still at home? in school? working? Thanks for another interesting post… xo

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    • Great memories of Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, etc. He’s married now and receiving his PhD in Musicology in a couple of months. 🙂

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      • That’s lovely to hear Marcia– I’m imagining your home full of good books, reading and talking with your kids… We have 4 grown kids and it’s good and sometimes surprising to see all they do in life… always good to hear from you. xo

        Liked by 1 person

  15. So glad you guys got to celebrate! It’s funny–we got that extra day this year, but it didn’t feel like an extra day!

    Stephanie

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    • Hi Stephanie! You’re right, if anything February went by faster this year.

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  16. I hope your son had a fabulous birthday, Marcia! February really did zip past despite the extra day. And look, the first week of March is almost over.

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    • I wish all the days, weeks, months would slow down. I think I have to practice ‘living in the moment’ more often, rather than multitasking my time away. Thanks for visiting, Claudine!

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  17. Fascinating information about Leap Year. It was wonderful to find out all the details about it. The photos of your son are great. Especially the one of him singing in concert. I really enjoyed hearing him sing Ol’ Man River that evening. It was a very moving performance.

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    • Thanks, Art! I’m glad you enjoyed the post AND the performance. 🙂

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