February 2016 marks Leap Year. A leap year is a year where an extra day is added to the end of February. This occurrence technically takes place every four years.
The addition of the leap year is down to the solar system’s disparity with the Gregorian calendar. A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to fully complete. The Gregorian calendar, however, uses 365 days. Thus leap years are added as a means of keeping clocks and calendars in sync with the earth and its seasons.
Leap years are interestingly marked as a time for women to propose to men. The reason behind this, in theory, is that the custom dates back to the fifth century. According to legend, an Irish nun called St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to pluck up some courage and propose. St. Patrick then gave permission every four years for the women to ask the question.
Another theory behind this is that Queen Margaret of Scotland was behind the fabled Scottish law of 1288. This particular law allowed unmarried women the freedom to propose but only during a leap year. The man who refused the proposal was handed a fine. However, the rumors behind this tale are dubious at best.
A big point of interest when it comes to leap year, however, is the leap year birthday. A person who is born on February 29 is often considered a “leapling” or a “leap-year baby.” Since a leap year only occurs once every four years, some people with these special birthdays celebrate on either Feb. 28 or March 1. Others choose to only observe their birthdays on the authentic date.
It is a rare situation, 1 in 1,461, of having a leap year birthday. Considering this statistic, about 4.1 million people around the world were brought into the world on the Feb. 29.
Carbon County is home to a leap year baby. Gunnar Whiteside, born Feb. 29, 2008 in Price, is a leapling. Born to Thad and Mandy Whiteside, Gunnar has two sisters, Jessica and Maddix Whiteside. Gunnar loves to play all sports and is a very outgoing boy and has a huge heart and infectious personality. Ruth Whiteside, grandmother to Gunnar, spoke of her grandson and stated what a joy he is to be around.
“He is a very special boy,” Ruth said.
When Gunnar was young, he hated being a leap year baby because his sisters always teased him about only being a year old. However, now Whiteside thinks it’s cool.
In the past, Gunnar shared a birthday with his sister Maddix. As he has gotten older and began to understand, however, he now wants his own special day. This year, Whiteside will be able to celebrate his birthday on the actual day.
To celebrate his birthday this year, Whiteside is going to have a party at the local wave pool. After the pool party, Whiteside and his friends plan to have a sleepover.