Feb. 29: We are special breed, say celebrants

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By Josephine Obute

A leap year occurs once every four years to account for the extra time it takes for the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun.

This adjustment is necessary to keep the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical year.

Individuals born on Feb. 29, also known as leap day, have a unique birthday that only comes around every four years.

They often refer to themselves as ‘special breeds’ or ‘special beings’ due to the rarity of their birthdate.

Some of these celebrants express joy and gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays in a way that sets them apart from others.

For those born on Feb. 29, celebrating birthdays can be a mixture of joy and occasional challenges.

While some see their unique birthdate as a blessing, others see it as awkward when comparing their birthday celebrations to those who have annual birthdays.

Some Lagos residents, born Feb. 29, expressed their views about the day in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.

15-year-old Damilare Ijiwade, born Feb.29, 2009, described the day as “unique”.

Ijiwade Damilare , February 29 celebrant


“For this rare and special opportunity, my daddy has planned a little get-together for me with my friends because of the uniqueness of the celebration.

“I give thanks to God for the benefit of seeing another birthday after four years.

“I feel great because my birthday is a very peculiar one that is being celebrated every four years. There is no need for me to be worried about it. I only put my mind on the fourth year,” Ijiwade said.

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According to Shadrach Akowonjo, a 24 -year-old Civil Engineer, born Feb. 29, 2000, he feels awkward when others talk about celebrating their birthdays every year.

Shedrack Akowonjo, February 29 celebrant

“Though it’s not funny at all but all the same, I thank God, I will be visiting the orphanage.

“When others talk about birthday other years, I feel awkward but who am I to question God, that’s our faith, we accept it, ” he said.

For Favour Thompson, a student born Feb. 29, 2008, described Feb.29 as a day for ‘mysterious and special beings’.

Favour Thompson, February 29 celebrant

“I feel and believe being born on such a date is a misery, I am glad and honoured having to celebrate this year.

“Though people always mocked me every year, but it’s our turn to demonstrate God’s grace in our lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, a priest, Rev. Father Clement Odiah, of the Seat of Wisdom Catholic College, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State, said individuals born Feb.29 are called ‘leapling babies’.

“They didn’t choose to be born on that date, however, they found themselves to be born on such day.

“There are so many things in life that we just have to find a way round it, we can’t deny or push them away. It’s not that they sinned or did anything wrong.

“Having birthdays annually is an opportunity to thank God to celebrate birthday every year, some don’t have such an opportunity.

“Some break relationships or cause animosity for their birthdays not been celebrated. Tell them to calm down, if they have nothing to celebrate this year, another year will come. After all, some celebrate just once in four years, yet heaven hasn’t fallen,” he said.

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Another Catholic Cleric, of Saints Gregory Major Seminary, Ogun, Rev. Fr. Paul Amenaghawon, said that those born Feb. 29 had the liberty to celebrate on other closer days.

“As long as those born on Feb. 29 increase in age every year, they can celebrate on either Feb. 28 or March 1, as they choose.

“What matters is that they remember they are increasing in age every year, regardless of having Feb. 29 or not,” he said.


Also speaking, Rev. Fr. Anthony Afariogun, Chaplain, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Chaplaincy, Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo State, said celebrating once in four years is ‘divine’.

“Celebrating birthday once in four years is divine. They have opportunity of saving money for the next four years and prepare very well. It gives them also opportunity to reflect on their lives and see how to serve God better.

“Birthday is not a compulsory celebration, it’s a time of gratitude and appreciation. Time to look back and see what God has done in the past, present and future,” he said. (NAN)

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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