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Leap forth, you February 29 children


Leap forth, you February 29 children

They may only have a ‘true’ birthday every four years but leap day babies will always be something special. WORDS: Shirley Sinclair

Everyone seems to complain about being time poor. “Not enough hours in the day. Not enough days in the year,” we all say.

Well, we’re in luck: 2024 is a leap year, which means we have an extra day to play catch-up at = work, sneak in a little ‘me time’, get our tax organised for last year, take the kids to the beach/park/movies like we’ve been promising, or finally make a start on that family history research.

The bad news is that while leap day, February 29, is only a hop, skip and jump away, it falls on a Thursday, and many of us will be working anyway. Drat!

February 29 is only added to the calendar every four years to give us 366 days, instead of the usual 365.

A leap year is a corrective measure to keep the Earth’s trip around the sun synchronised with the planet’s seasons.

The Earth actually completes its orbit around the sun in 365.25 days, or almost six hours extra per year.

A leap day is added every fourth February to account for four extra 0.25 days in the Gregorian calendar: a solar dating system that was adopted in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.

February 29, then, is indeed special.

And those born on February 29 share their birthday with some famous people, including Australian comedian Frank Woodley (1968), rapper Ja Rule (1976), entertainer Jonathan Coleman (1956) and Australia’s 1986 World Ironman Champion and 1994 World Ocean Paddling Champion Guy Leech (1964).

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to being born on leap day.

If you are wanting to fudge your age on a dating app profile, only having a birthday every four years might come in handy (80 becomes the new 20!).

But try telling a Primary schooler that they can’t have their birthday party on the actual date of their birthday. That could spell trouble.

So, if an expectant mother was due on February 29 and wanted to save her child from the whole leap year scenario in the future, could she ask to be induced or plan to have a caesarean the day before on February 28?

Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) obstetrician Dr Anders Faber-Swensson says “no”, even though staff understand that this may be an issue for some mothers.

“As the chance of delivering on your due date is low, we would counsel against any unnecessary interventions,” he says.

“It would rarely come up as an issue of concern or discussion antenatally.

“There are a few dates through the year that have special meaning for different cultural groups but we are very rarely asked to time deliveries around these.

“One of my daughters was born on Friday the 13th, and her behaviour is no worse than her siblings.”

Dr Faber-Swensson says the SCUH maternity ward has no specific policy for how to manage leap days, and February 29, 2024, will be “business as usual for us”.

As a Norwegian, though, he was reminded of the notoriety of the Henriksen siblings: Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin, from Andenes on the island of Andøy.

Their story crops up every four years because they are believed to be the only family members in the world today who all share a leap day birth date.

The Local Norway news agency reports that Heidi was born on February 29 in 1960, Olav in 1964 and Leif-Martin in 1968.

Their mother Karin, having given birth on three consecutive leap days, was added to the 1980 Guinness World Records for her impeccable timing in delivering babies. estimates that four million people worldwide have leap day birthdays – coming under Pisces (the fish) on the zodiac chart.

Astrologer Chirone Shakti says leap days have no special meaning in astrology, “although there certainly would be if we didn’t have leap years”.

“Inserting an extra day into the year once every four years (producing a leap year) is simply an adjustment to make sure our calendar year follows the agricultural year,” says Ms Shakti, an Association of Professional Astrologers member with Sunshine Coast and online clients from around the world.

“The position of the Sun determines the agricultural year through the equinoxes and solstices. The Sun is the cosmic timing device.

“The calendar is man-made and there have been many attempts to align the two – the most recent being the move from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which took place in the late 16th century onwards (some countries were slow to change over).

“Astrologers track the position of the Sun, Moon and planets as they move across the sky. The Sun moves at just under a degree a day, moving through the 360 degrees of the zodiac in a year.

“Unlike our calendar months, in astrology the zodiac ‘months’ are completely regular – each of 30 degrees.

“The position of the Sun will vary slightly on any given day of the year because of that extra quarter-day each year, and so the extra day of 29 February is needed to bring the calendar back in line with our seasons.

“There’s no effect because the zodiac sign Pisces is always 30 degrees, and the Sun moves through Pisces just as it moves through all the other signs.”

Numerology, however, is a numbers game with a completely different take.

Nine single-digit numbers are the building blocks of numerology, and numbers will be added together to produce an individual digit.

Yandina’s Healing from the Heart numerologist Jacky Haworth says that while a more complete picture of personality and potential comes from the life path number (day, month and year added together), the ‘day number’ of 29 is interesting in itself.

“In the 29, the 2 energy is healing and compassion. It’s more feminine as a number,” she says.

“The 9 is the number of completion: finishing things off and coming to the end of things.

“So, you’ve got two meanings in there. And when I put those two together, I say, okay, if you’d been given the potential to be who you really are, your day number is a reflection that you are a born healer, a humanitarian.

“You just want to help people. You want to support people. You’re a peacemaker. You care about people. You’re probably a bit softer, a bit more meditative type of person. You don’t like conflict and you’d prefer to sit back and have a calmer approach.”

But the 2 and the 9, when added together, give 11 – considered a ‘master’ number (like 22, 33 and so on).

“They’re numbers that have a lot more influence,” she says.

“When a master number is showing up, it’s normally a time when the energies that are around it are more potent. Things are going to happen on a grander scale.

“We would look at the 11 and say you’re a person that has the potential to tap into more mastery in this lifetime in terms of healing and helping humanity.

“Often that person can be taken into a place of being the leader because 1 is the number of leadership and taking action.

“So, quite often, they’re the ones that also can initiate, get things happening and work very single-mindedly.”

Those born on the 29th of any month, Ms Haworth says, would make good missionaries or leaders in non-government and not-for-profit organisations tackling social issues, as well as potential romance novelists.

While acknowledging that being born on a leap day might be seen as unfortunate, she says February 29 has one major upside numerologically.

“In a sense, it adds even more potency to that birthday number because it’s in the melting pot for four years before showing up.

“It’s even more powerful. It’s even more potent.”

So, if you are a February 29 baby, taking a leap of faith and falling on your feet in a new career more attune to your potential as a true humanitarian or caring healer may be just the gift the world really needs at the moment.


After 40 years of working with words, Shirley Sinclair remains a passionate storyteller, championing community causes and bringing a world of travel to readers’ doorsteps. Reporting, subediting, designing and editing newspapers and magazines led to roles online and as a university journalism tutor. Shirley joined Sunshine Coast News as an online journalist, travel editor and digital producer in April 2021 and is a My Weekly Preview features writer/subeditor.

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