News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Leap Day Babies: Just How Good (Or Bad) Is It To Have A Birthday Every 4 Years?


Raenell Dawn of Keizer, Ore., was born in 1960, but she is 15 years old today - today, February 29. Raenell Dawn is a leap year day baby. She's the co-founder of the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. Thanks very much for joining us.

RAENELL DAWN: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: Happy birthday. How's it feel to be 15?

DAWN: You know, the second time around is so much easier.


SIMON: Leap year babies, I gather, do have their problems that the rest of the world doesn't know a lot about, right?

DAWN: That's right. And you know what? Anybody can be born in a leap year. We're leap year day babies.

SIMON: Yeah.

DAWN: But, yes, we do. The DMV doesn't recognize February 29, so our expiration date is the day before our birthday or the day after our birthday. Birth certificates get altered to say February 28 or March 1. It wreaks havoc. It really does. When we go online to sign up for something, February 29 is not an option. And when we put in our February 29 and our year, which is a leap year, a little window pops up and says, invalid date, or, please enter valid date.


DAWN: And we did. Yeah, yeah.

SIMON: You're being told you're invalid, I guess, right?

DAWN: Yeah. What's up with that?

SIMON: Well, have you been tempted over the years to give in to the cry of the mob and change your birthday?

DAWN: No, absolutely not.

SIMON: Just asking. I mean...

DAWN: There's no need (laughter) - there's no reason to. There's no reason for us to change our personal identification just because the computer doesn't recognize February 29. Humans program the computer, so the humans need to program it correctly 'cause February 29 is everyone's extra day. And it's a day that started in 45 B.C. And it's the most important date on the calendar because it keeps all the dates on the calendar in line with the seasons.

SIMON: Yeah. You know, I realize that now. I have to ask. I was able to wish you happy birthday today. Next year, how would I do that, or when would I do that?

DAWN: Well, thank you for asking. That's what people need to do. If you know a leap day baby, ask them which day they prefer. We've conducted polls through the years, and it still, continuously is around half and half. I'm a February, and I wasn't born in March, so I celebrate on February 28.

SIMON: After a certain time, is it nice to only have a birthday once every four years?

DAWN: In the off years, which is kind of funny a little bit, we really have two days to celebrate if we want because there is...

SIMON: Oh, wow.

DAWN: ...A percentage of leap day babies, me included, who celebrate on both February 28 and March 1 because we can. And sometimes you get two parties.

SIMON: In the course of a short interview with you, I've gone from feeling vaguely sorry for you to feeling quite envious.

DAWN: Well, that's the way you should feel. You know, the feeling sorry for us - no. It's cool. I was born on a day that represents balance and harmony. Those are very good things.

SIMON: Raenell Dawn of Keizer, Ore., known as the Leap Year (ph) Lady and co-founder of the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. Happy birthday.

DAWN: Well, thank you very much. And you know what? It's not only our birthday.

SIMON: Yeah?

DAWN: It's everyone's extra day. So use your extra day wisely, and happy leap day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.