While Leap Day is crucial to keeping calendars on track, it is also an important day for three Oklahoma Christian University students who will be spending the day celebrating on Feb. 29.
Sophomore Kelly Thomas-Cutshaw and freshman Cameron Cox will be spending this Leap Day with their immediate families at their wedding in a small ceremony in Denton, Texas.
“Cameron is the son of two really jokester parents and Cameron finds humor in really unusual things,” Thomas-Cutshaw said. “So getting married on Leap Day holds a lot of humor, which is nice, because it is very characteristic of us.”
Thomas-Cutshaw said that although marriage was never on the forefront of her mind growing up, her ideal dates were getting engaged on April Fool’s Day and getting married on Leap Day.
“When we started talking, hypothetically, about when we would get married I always said I wanted it to be Leap Day,” Thomas-Cutshaw said “I told him it was obvious that it would be Feb. 29 because that way I would never really have to think about it and no one would believe us.”
Thomas-Cutshaw and Cox have been friends since middle school, but on Dec. 5, 2015 Cox asked the question, “Will you marry me on Feb. 29?”.
Since Feb. 29 only happens every four years, Thomas-Cutshaw said she is unsure to how they when or how they will spend their anniversary each year.
“March 1 seems to late but February 28 seems too early, so maybe we’ll celebrate for a second at midnight,” Thomas-Cutshaw said. “But we might just do a big celebration every four years to celebrate our anniversary instead.”
Another Oklahoma Christian student will be celebrating Leap Day. Sophomore Paul Walton will be spending this leap day celebrating his fifth birthday.
“It is neat having my birthday on Leap Day, because it’s so rare,” Walton said. “There’s only .01 percent of us, so I like it.”
Although Walton is 20 years old, he said he rarely celebrates his birthday, due to the fact it only happens every four years.
“I never know when my birthday is on the other years,” Walton said. “All I know is it’s somewhere between the 28th and the 1st.”
Walton said the weirdest part is not knowing how old he is legally.
“I would think at the end of the month I would become the next year old, but I haven’t been able to find laws here that state exactly what the rule is, so I never really know how old I am legally,” Walton said.
Leap Day keeps the calendar in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Since the astronomical and seasonal tracks do repeat the same number of days each year, it would not be accurate if the calendar never adjusted.
It took centuries to agree on the current system for Leap Day, however, according to History.com, Julius Caesar is considered “the father of Leap Day.”
Leap Day originally started in 45 B.C. when Julius Caesar realized that the Roman Calendar was 10 and 1/4 days short of how long it took for the Earth to fully orbit around the sun. Caesar decided that during every fourth year there would be an extra day in February to even out the calendars with the orbit.
Many different cultures have formed traditions on Leap Day. According to Irish tradition, Leap Day is the only day that a woman can propose to the man (as seen in the 2010 movie, Leap Day). In China, a leap month is added to the calendar every three years. In Ethiopia, a leap year occurs when an extra day is added to the last month of the year every four years.