It’s pretty weird to be born on February 29th, as Java is. He doesn’t have a birthday for three years out of every four and so, although he quite enjoys the ‘non-event’, it does get confusing for family and friends and he usually gets wished on both the 28th, as well as on March 1st –   “weeeiird sheeet maaan”, as far as he is concerned.

How this phenomenon came to be is kinda interesting as it had to do with astronomy and the movements of celestial bodies which directly affected the calendar that was devised in the early days of ‘civilized’ man. Actually it was Julius Caesar (this guy was all over the place!) who developed the ‘Julian’ calendar in 46 BC by amending the existing Roman Republican one. The reasons for this are complex and on the boring side, but suffice it to say that the ‘Gregorian’ calendar replaced old Julius’ effort and this is now the one we are stuck with.

As Wikipedia explains: The Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, adds a 29th day to February in all years evenly divisible by 4, except for centennial years (those ending in -00), which receive the extra day only if they are evenly divisible by 400. Thus 1600, 2000 and 2400 are leap years but 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not.

The reasoning behind this rule is as follows: The Gregorian calendar is designed to keep the vernal equinox on or close to March 21, so that the date of Easter (celebrated on the Sunday after the 14th day of the Moon that falls on or after 21 March) remains correct with respect to the vernal equinox. 

There’s more shit on this – all sorts of mathematical stuff which is great for those who are turned on by numbers, but for the rest of us who go with the flow it is all pretty meaningless.

Aaannnyway, getting back to Java’s take on his birthday:

Sheeet maan, when I be a wee lil ol kid, ma mamma be havin dis party sheet on da 28th an bein one day earlier dan it really be, I be kinda trilled bout it. Den later as I be growin up, it dint make a whole lotta diffrence – know what I mean maaan? An den as dose years rolled on by an folk be aksin bout how old I be, I jus tell dem dat I be havin jus so many birtdays, witout tellin dem dat each one of dem came every four years. Dis got dem all shook up and dey be tinking dat Java be kinda flipped out or jus plain fucked up – not far from dat truth huh? Aaanywaay, I guess weird sheet be happenin to weird dudes an we folk dat be born on dis leapday fo shurre be excepshunal – one way or anodder!

Like Java said, There are many instances in children’s literature where a person’s claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. And if you are familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan’s well known musical production ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, you would remember a similar device being used in that plot.

So that’s that. And Java will keep on keeping on with those ‘once in four years’ birthdays and keep on wondering if that leap-year thing was good for him – or good for him.

Shheeet maaan, like I say – it be kool!

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