Monday isn’t just an extra day on the calendar. For those who were born on Feb. 29, today is a celebration that’s been four years in the waiting.
Even though they only technically have their birthday every four years, most leap day babies celebrate on either Feb. 28 or March 1 during off years. Some choose to wait it out.
Sana Khan, 24, of Flushing, officially turns 6 today. The last time she celebrated her birthday was four years ago.
“My parents give me presents and stuff, but I don’t really celebrate it,” said Khan about non-leap year birthdays. “When I wait for four years to celebrate it, it feels more special.”
On her birthday, Khan sets up goals to achieve over the next four years. This year her goal is to be more stable in her career. She is also celebrating by going out with a friend to the Sugar Factory.
Khan joins rapper Ja Rule, 40, in being a leap day baby. He hasn’t said much about his birthday plans on social media, but on Wednesday Ja Rule tweeted, “Damn I thought I was the most famous leap year baby but pope Paul the third might have me beat lol…”
Other leap day celebrities include rock singer Mark Foster, 32, writer and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, 56 and soap opera actor Antonio Sabato, Jr., 44.
Cari Gelber, 36, from Battery Park City, planned a birthday brunch with her friends and a trip to Miami. “I definitely try to do something a little bit special for the leap years,” she said.
Unlike Khan, Gelber celebrates her birthday every year, usually on Feb. 28. Leap years are when she gets the most recognition from her friends, though. People she hasn’t heard from in a long time will reach out to her.
“I feel like it’s a birthday that people don’t forget,” said Gelber.
Renee Gray, 31, of Bed-Stuy, also notices that more people wish her a happy birthday on leap years.
“They just don’t seem to react as much on off years,” said Gray. “This year I’m getting a lot more attention.”
On non-leap years, Khan said she feels empty because her birthday is “not really there.” But waiting for the real thing is worth it. “It feels different,” she said. “When you see it on a calendar, you feel the joy.”
Celebrating on off years, Gray doesn’t feel like it’s really her birthday. “It’s definitely a countdown for four years until the day,” she said.
Even with the wait, Gray thinks that being born on leap day has become part of her identity.
“I’ve always wanted to stand out from the crowd as an adult,” she said. “In a way, I was born that way.”