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The twenty-ninth day of February comes only once every four years note . As the only date in the calendar that doesn't occur in every year, it has some comedic potential, especially when it's someone's birthday: Any event happening on someone's "Xth birthday" won't actually happen until he's 4 times X years old note . People born on this day are known as "leapers" or "leaplings."

This can be a hassle if said character wants to celebrate their birthday every year. One way to do this is to celebrate it on February 28 (since they were not born in March) or March 1 so technically they'd still 'age' normally. This is what legal jurisdictions will do for the purposes of determining when someone reaches the age of majority, though whether it's the day before or after depends: the UK and Hong Kong consider March 1 as the day for leapers, while New Zealand and Taiwan use February 28.

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February 29 is also known as Bachelor's Day, the day on which, by tradition, women were allowed to propose marriage to a man in Ireland. It was also chosen as the day for rare diseases awareness.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman's birthday was February 29 (as in, the date on Earth when he was born on Krypton). He celebrates the day the Kents found him separately, as Clark Kent's birthday.
  • In The Golden Age of Comic Books, Billy Batson choose February 29 as Captain Marvel's birthday, despite not being his real birth date.
  • It used to be that Leap Day was the day on which women could propose to men, instead of the other way around as was the informal custom of the time. Carol Ferris tried to take advantage of this in an issue of Green Lantern.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • French comedy Ça n'arrive qu'à moi is the story of François Pépin, a man Born Unlucky. From the get-go, he mentions that he's born on February 29, and thus has a birthday every four years.
  • Weirdly, this trope is not part of the 1921 comedy Leap Year, which has a Non-Indicative Name.
  • Irish folklore has this as the day Saint Bridget struck a deal with Saint Patrick to allow women to propose to men. This is the premise of the 2010 Amy Adams film Leap Year.
  • The Pirate Movie, being based on The Pirates of Penzance, shares its source material's 21st year/birthday plot point.
  • The 2006 South Korean horror film succinctly named February 29 revolves around a mysterious killing related to an urban legend of a ghostly murderer who strikes every four years on Leap Day.

    Literature 
  • In Whit by Iain Banks, the Luskentyrian cult consider those born on the 29th of February to be sacred, so they have an orgy nine months before that date.
  • In the appendix of The Lord of the Rings, the Shire celebrates an extra day named Overlithe, which occurs once every 4 years in the middle of summer (around mid-June).
  • In the novel series How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup was born on Leap Day.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Frasier episode "Look Before You Leap" takes place on a Leap Day. Frasier encourages everyone to "take a leap" and try something new. One of Martin's friends was also born on Leap Day.
  • The Middle: Sue Heck is a Leap baby who dreamt of actually celebrating her 16th birthday on Feb 29, 2012.
  • Cameron on Modern Family is also a Leap Day baby. Phil also takes Feb. 29 off to enjoy this "bonus day".
  • My Hero: Piers Crispin's father told him his birthday was on February 29th, thereby ensuring he only got one present every four years.
  • Jerry on Parks and Recreation was born on this day.
  • 30 Rock: Leap Day William emerges from the Marianas Trench dressed in blue and yellow on February 29th. There is even a movie about him starring Jim Carrey in the vein of The Santa Clause. The actual Leap Day William appears in the episode as well and is revealed to be a fanged Humanoid Abomination.
  • On Wings, Roy was born on Feb. 29th and held a birthday party for himself every four years, saying he was 10 when he was 40 or whatever the precise dates were. While Roy acknowledged his real age, the tradition was that everyone would throw him a kids' party based on his Leap Year age.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons, there is a day called Shieldmeet, which occurs only once every four years on the day after Midsummer, making it an in-universe leap day.

    Theatre 
  • In The Pirates of Penzance, the Pirate King and Ruth inform Frederick that he is bound to serve them, not until his twenty-first year, but until his twenty-first birthday.
    Through some singular coincidence—I shouldn't be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy—
    You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February,
    And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you'll easily discover,
    That though you've lived 21 years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you're only 5 and a little bit over!

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • In And Shine Heaven Now, this is how Annie Warbucks explains how she looked no older than 30 (in 1998) and still could be alive during World War II: because she was born on this day, she ages at the quarter of a rate of a normal human. Of course, she could just be pulling Seras's leg. (That particular comic was posted on April Fool's Day, after all.) This is based on the canonical explanation for why Annie hasn't aged in sync with the real world, incidentally.
  • Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary is among those born on February 29.
  • Michelle from the webcomic Scrambled Eggs was born on February 29. The birthday parties this Dumb Blonde holds every four years have become Cool and Unusual Punishments for the other characters.
  • In one Nedroid comic, Leap Day goes horribly wrong.

    Web Original 
  • "It was April the 41st, being a quadruple leap year..."
  • In the SCP Foundation mythos, King Dyrmud, former ruler of the legendary island ofHy-Brasil, is described as having been born on a leap day, and as a result, aged only one year for every four, and by the time he was nearing 100 years old, was physically still in his twenties.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Cody's Birthday!", it is revealed that Cody was born on February 29. Cody makes the mistake of telling Bowser Junior and Joseph that he's eight years old, but technically due to the laws of time, actually two years old. As a prank, Junior and Joseph go as far as to make a baby-themed birthday party for him and pretend that he's a baby himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Milo Murphy's Law has Leap Days be the result of time travelers Balthazar Cavendish and Vinnie Dakota accidentally going back to ancient Rome with a time grenade capable of wiping a day off the face of the calendar, and the "once every four years" thing was caused by the time grenade being one-quarter disarmed.

    Real Life 
  • Here's a list of performers born on February 29.
  • Pope Paul III was born February 29, 1468.
  • Serial killer Aileen Wuornos (whose life was adapted in Monster) was born February 29, 1956.
  • Davy Jones died on February 29, 2012.
  • As noted, Irish folklore marks February 29 as the day women are allowed to propose to men, explained as a deal Saint Bridget struck with Saint Patrick.
  • As a curiosity, when Julius Caesar had the calendar reformed, the year 46 BC was made 445 days long to get up to date (as Pontifex Maximus he was supposed to make yearly fixes in the old Roman Calendar but he was at war or crisis for years, he took the opportunity of calendar reform to get it back on track), making it the longest year in history.
  • Facebook wishes a happy birthday to persons born February 29 twice in the years when there's no February 29 — on February 28 and on March 1.
  • In spaceflight, only one orbital rocket launch has ever occurred on the Leap Day: a Japanese ionospheric research satellite, ISS-1, on February 29, 1976. American astronaut Jack Lousma was born on February 29, 1936.
    • Which means he went to Skylab when he was 9 and flew on the space shuttle when he was 11!

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