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Leap day babies have something to celebrate this year

Samantha Speranza, 27, with her mother, Angela Speranza,

Samantha Speranza, 27, with her mother, Angela Speranza, 55, at their East Northport home, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Angela Speranza will turn 56 on Monday, but because it is leap year, it will be her 14th birthday. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Angela Speranza will celebrate her 14th birthday Monday with a family bash, complete with her husband and children — ages 28, 27 and 19.

That’s not a misprint. Speranza, of East Northport, was born on Feb. 29, 1960, one of those who entered the world on leap day — that no-man’s-land date crammed into the calendar every four years to synchronize time systems, as our 365-day calendar version runs short of solar time by close to 6 hours.

An estimated 10,800 babies can be expected to arrive Monday, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population clock, which figures that a birth occurs every eight seconds.

While in non-leap day years Speranza, actually 56, celebrates her birthday on March 1, which she described as kind of “blah.” She said “every fourth year is a celebration like I can’t believe.”

In 2000, the whole family went on a Caribbean cruise. Looking ahead, she said in some ways she’ll be glad to mark her 64th year, as she’ll then be entitled to a Sweet 16 party.

Speranza was 9 leap-years old at the same time her daughter, Michele, turned 9, and she was still 9 two years later when her daughter, Samantha, reached that age, she wrote on the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies website, which is devoted to leap day awareness.

Those who weren’t lucky enough to be born on leap day can still take advantage of it for another major life event: marriages.

While February typically is an offseason for weddings — except for Valentine’s Day — Feb. 29 does have some appeal as a wedding date. Nearly 1,500 users of the wedding website theknot.com say they’ll be tying their own knots on Monday, compared to an average of 732 weddings for each of this February’s other Mondays.

Anja Winikka, wedding expert and site director for theknot.com, said one of leap day’s charms could be potential discounts on big-ticket expenses, such as venue and photographer.

But, she said, she suspects the draw of leap day weddings is similar to that of leap day birthdays — there’s a built-in-excuse for doing something spectacular when that fourth year rolls around.

LEAP DAY CELEBRANTS AND FACTS

  • Advance tickets for the upcoming movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” go on sale Monday, with a nod to the Man of Steel’s birthday, which according to DC Comics is Feb. 29.
  • Nonfictional people sharing Monday as a birthday include rapper Ja Rule, born in 1976; motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins, 1960; “Law and Order” actor Dennis Farina, 1944; founder of The Fleetwoods singing group, Gretchen Christopher, 1940; singer and actress Dinah Shore, 1916; and bandleader Jimmy Dorsey, 1904.
  • Adding those 24 hours every fourth year doesn’t calibrate exactly our Gregorian calendar with the solar year, so to make things jive, three leap days have to be omitted every 400 years, according to Infoplease.com
  • Centuries before the women’s movement, and certainly the Kardashians, a tradition arose giving women the green light on leap day to pop the question to beaus who were dragging their feet.

Thanks to leap day and the way the calendar falls, there’s potential for some workers to get an extra paycheck this year. But don’t go spending the money ahead of time, as it all depends on “when and how employees get paid,” says the Society for Human Resource Management.

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