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Leap year birthdays are extra special

Submitted Photo Carolyn Levang, center, is shown surrounded by family on Christmas. Levang celebrates her birthday on leap day.

The Earth takes 365.242190 days to orbit the sun. Given that, there are 365 days in a year, according to our calendar. But what happens to that extra 0.242190 days? The answer is the leap year.

Every four years, on Feb. 29, is a leap day, but for some people that day also is a birthday celebration.

Ash DeCoteau-Dyess, of Minot, will be turning 8 on Feb. 29, or technically, turning 2.

“I don’t think our son had any problems understanding the leap year once we explained why we have leap year day,” said Ash’s father Adam Dyess.

“He is 8, so sometimes he doesn’t like us referring to him as being technically 2 years old,” Dyess laughed.

When it comes to celebrations, some families choose the day before, or the day after, when it is not a leap year.

“I would say it is fun growing up when the 29th finally happens and it feels like a real birthday,” said Kaitlynn Fettig, of Minot, who will be celebrating her birthday today.

“We usually celebrate on March 1,” Dyess said. “This year since it’s on a Thursday, we will celebrate on the actual day, but we are having his official party on March 1.”

For some, the leap year can be exciting but for others it just feels like any other birthday.

“It pretty much feels like any other birthday to him,” said Dyess, referring to his son.

“I think as I get older, it feels a little underwhelming,” Fettig chuckled. “I’m not sure if that is just getting older or not being used to actually having one.”

On the other hand, Keene resident Carolyn Levang remembers how exciting it was when her leap year birthday popped up every four years.

“Having a leap year birthday was always actually kind of fun as a kid,” Levang said. “I was always younger than anyone else. My parents always made sure all my birthdays were like any other kids’ except when there was an actual leap year. Then it seemed like we celebrated a little more.”

“I have always celebrated my birthday with my dad, whose birthday is February 22, as an adult, which I have always found pretty special as I am an only child,” she said.

Levang, who will be turning 14 (leap year age) today, has had many fun encounters relating to her leap year birthday.

“When I was driving school buses, one of my kiddos joked with me that we were the same age, which was 12, I believe, and when he turned 13 I, of course, was still 12, and he said there was something wrong with this whole picture as I was the one driving the bus and he was older,” she said.

“When I turned 13 I joked with my husband about him having a teenager in the house again,” she laughed. “It’s always been fun being a leap year baby.”

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