Leap Day Wants a Little Respect

The strangest non-holiday of the year is upon us.

Leap day is a wrinkle in time that goes unmentioned on many wall and desk calendars. Those born on Feb. 29 may face problems when it comes to filling out forms or settling basic questions of identity.

“People didn’t believe me that I was born on a day that didn’t exist,” said Raenell Dawn, who was born Feb. 29, 1960, describing her school years.

In 1983, while working in retail, Ms. Dawn encountered a customer who was a fellow leap day baby. “I was so excited to meet him,” she said. Then came a moment of disappointment, when she learned that the man had no special feeling about his birthday.

“He didn’t seem to care one leaping bit!” Ms. Dawn said. “It made me realize — I’ve got to find people that are born on this birthday, that are happy about it, that get it.”

She started a club for “leapers” or “leaplings,” as she calls those born on Feb. 29. She recruited the first members via newspaper ads (it was the ’80s). Years later, she met Peter Brouwer, a leapling who had formed a similar club. They joined forces to create the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies.

Ms. Dawn, who lives in Oregon, said she would like to see leap year and leap day given the dignity of uppercase treatment. To support her case, she cites Groundhog Day, which is capitalized in dictionaries and news publications.

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