Allyson Church has had only six chances to celebrate on her birthday.
One of an estimated 205,000 people in the United States born on Leap Day, she’s turning 24 years old.
“I’m actually taking a trip to the Poconos with a bunch of my friends,” said Church, who lives in Philadelphia. “I’m really looking forward to starting a tradition of doing something a little bigger on leap years, just as an excuse to get people together and have a good time.”
Leap Days come around every four years in order to synchronize the man-made Gregorian calendar with earth’s orbit around the sun.
Growing up, Church would usually celebrate her birthday on Feb. 28. Her birthday has come to be a fun source of laughter for her family and friends.
“Everyone always likes to make fun of me and say I’m a baby,” she said.
For almost-newly-weds Molly Stayman and Chris Wiencek, Leap Day has no special significance. They decided on Feb. 29 for their wedding ceremony in hopes of a magically snowy celebration.
The couple met through a mutual college friend. After a trip to Peru, Wiencek popped the question.
“My grandmother was dying and he asked while we were visiting my parents, visiting my grandmother,” Stayman said. “It was really nice because I got to tell my grandmother, which was really important to me.”
When asked how they plan to celebrate their wedding anniversary on non-leap years, they say they will do what’s most convenient. Right now, the couple is looking forward to their big day.
“I’m looking forward to our wedding dance,” Wiencek said. “We’ve been taking dance lessons for a few years now so I’m looking forward to showing that off.”
“I am simultaneously looking forward to showing it off and terrified,” Stayman chimed in, laughing.
According to the astrological calendar, Leap Day always falls within the Pisces season, the sign which boasts creativity. Church, who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, is a practicing visual artist.
“I really relate to the attributes of being a Pisces,” she said. “I have always just been a creative person. I make prints, I print on fabric and I also like to sow so I make quilts. I’m inspired by the natural world around me.”
Reflecting on her own “leapling” status, she said, “I think leap year is so silly and absurd, and it’s like one of those little things that makes life a little more fun.”