Annabelle Limbaugh is a leapling: She’s either 8 or 2

Susan EspirituEast Knox

I have had 66 birthdays, but if I was born on February 29, I would only have had 17 which is what Annabelle Limbaugh says about being born on February 29: “I’m turning 8 this year, but it’s only my second birthday!”

Annabelle is what is known as a leapling or leaper, a person who is born on February 29. Some celebrate their birthday on February 28 or March 1 during non-leap years, while others choose to celebrate on both days. Some places even hold special events for leaplings, recognizing their rare birthdate.

Annabelle celebrates her birthday on March 1 on non-leap years since as Mom Julie says she hadn’t technically been born yet on February 28. Julie says it may also come into play legally for driver license permits at the age of 15 and the age of 21 when leaplings may have to wait until March 1 to be consider “of age” depending on where they live.

February 29, which dates back to ancient times, is added to the calendar in order to keep our calendar year synchronized with the solar year, which is approximately 365.25 days long.

To figure if a year is a leap year, it must be divisible by 4, unless it is divisible by 100, then it is not a leap year, unless it is also divisible by 400. It is just easier to Google it.

Leap Day, February 29, is often associated with various traditions and superstitions.

Of course, smart businesses take advantage and offer Leap Day Sales literally banking on the fact we consumers will believe we are getting a once in four years deal of the lifetime!

Organizations and families might create time capsules on Leap Day and fill them with mementos, messages and predictions about the future, planning to open the capsules on the next Leap Day in four years.

Some historical traditions have evolved for Leap Day and relationships.

In many Western countries, women have the right to propose marriage to men as this tradition dates back to when St. Patrick declared that women could propose on Leap Day, and if the man refused, he had to give her a gift or pay a penalty. For instance, in Ireland, it is said that a man who refuses a marriage proposal on Leap Day must buy the woman 12 pairs of gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

Some traditions suggest that couples who marry on Leap Day will have good luck and a lasting marriage.  I question how they figure anniversaries when they are married on Leap Day.

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