Not many students at Northgate are turning four this year. None, in fact, except sophomore Daniel Pikovskiy.
Pikovskiy was born on Feb. 29, 2004. Because the twenty-ninth only comes every four years in a leap year, he will celebrate on his actual date of birth for the fourth time. Most years, he celebrates on March 1.
When asked if there is a difference between those he celebrates on his actual birthday – ages 4, 8, 12 and this year the 16th – and the other three in between, Pikovskiy replied, “not really, because I don’t think about my birthday that much.”
Pikovskiy attended Foothill Middle School when he turned 12, and more friends were aware. “It was a lot more people saying ‘happy birthday’ to me. And it was cooler because it was the actual day,” he said.
What even is a leap year? While the Gregorian calendar most countries use has 365 days, earth actually circles the sun in 365.25 days. We add a day to the calendar – leap day – every four years to keep the astronomical seasons on track with the calendar.
Julius Caesar created the concept of Leap Year over 2,000 years ago. According to timeanddate.com, he made one major mistake. The original concept stated that any year that was evenly divided by four would be a leap year. As one can probably imagine, this resulted in too many leap years; ultimately this rule was 1500 years later, adding that century years must be divisible by 400. Thus 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 1600 and 2000 were.
So, how many people are born on a leap day? According to online information, someone has a one in 1,461 chance of being born on that day. Statistics show there were 187,000 people born on such days as of 2016, and about 4 million worldwide.
There are some cultural legends associated with leap day. According to one, if a man was taking too long in fifth century Ireland to propose to his love, than the woman could propose to him on leap year day. If the man refused, he had to give her compensation in the form of “a kiss, a silk dress, one to twelve silk dresses, one to twelve silk gloves, or the sum of one pound,” according to online magazine Bustle.
Pikovskiy said he doesn’t have any big plans to celebrate the actual date of his birth this year for when he turns four, even though the day will be a Saturday with no school. “But the next day I have tickets to the Warriors game,” he added.
So he will be celebrating his birthday this year on March 1 as he did for the past three years and as he will for the next three years until Thursday Feb. 29, 2024, when he will turn 20.