Leap year students at UT-Austin celebrate their fifth birthday

Katie Clausen

For those who were born on Feb. 29, Saturday was a special day that only comes once every four years. For a few of those in the class of 2022, it will only be their fifth official birthday. 

Born on a leap year, architecture sophomore Damini Sayeed technically had her fifth birthday this year, though she’s legally turning 20 years old. She decided to celebrate her rare birthday with a sense of humor.

“I’m having a 5-year-old themed birthday party, since it’s technically my fifth birthday,” Sayeed said. “I’m just going to have all my friends over and make it all 5-year-old themed. I’m just going to get a piñata, get some candy, cookies and just make it like a little kid’s party theme.”

Lara Eakins, administrative program coordinator for the department of astronomy, said the reason we have this extra day in the calendar every four years links back to the stars.

“Basically, astronomy and our calendars don’t exactly line up,” Eakins said. “The earth actually takes about a quarter of a day extra, about six hours, to go from the point it is around the sun to the same point again in what we call a year … but it’s actually 365 days and six hours.” 

She said those extra six hours would have an effect on what times of the year the seasons land on. 

“If you want to keep the seasons and everything where they are, like we’re used to them, like spring coming up in month or so,” said Eakins. “If you don’t correct for that extra six hours, they’ll begin to drift away from that exact same time of year were used to seeing them.”

Tanmay Singh, a computer science sophomore, is also celebrating his fifth birthday this year.

“This year, my friends and I, we all wanted to do something really big, like a bigger party than usual,” Singh said. “All the other years I usually don’t care. (We’re) just getting dinner somewhere nice, a big party, I guess, normal birthday stuff, but for me I guess it’s a little more special.”