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Leap Year -Celebrating The Rarest Of Birthdays



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Leap Year –

Celebrating The Rarest Of Birthdays

By Jeff White

They say that eventually birthdays cease being exciting, that is, as exciting as a birthday seems to a child. For two Newtown residents, at least, a birthday will always be special, especially when they’re official.

Linda Connor of Hattertown, Newtown’s Registrar of Voters, had her 11th birthday this week; Newtown High School freshman Chris Dinoto had his fourth. The two Newtown residents are bound by a calendar convention, Leap Year, that has their official birthday arriving every four years.

“Well my kids think it’s fun,” explained Mrs Connor this week, a lifelong resident of Newtown, “because two of my kids are older than I am.”

“I think it’s kind of unique,” she added. “It gives you something to talk about.”

And talk they did at the high school this week. Many of Chris’ friends could not wait to greet him in the hallway with a “happy fourth birthday” remark. Chris has come to expect it.

“Everybody makes a much bigger deal of it than I do,” he said Tuesday. “I mean, it’s my birthday, and I’m happy I can celebrate it this year.”

Not that these two Newtowners play by the rules and wait for their birthdays to officially come around. Linda Connor and Chris Dinoto have come to always celebrate their special day on February 28, siding with the day before their birthday in the interest of keeping any commemorations bound to the month of February.

Having an odd birthday has made Chris rather famous throughout Newtown High School. One student said that Chris’ birthday was the only birthday he could remember out of the entire student body.

For the Connor family, Mrs Connor’s occasional birthdays have confused her children through the years, who couldn’t quite grasp the concept of being almost their mother’s age. Now her son, Roger, and daughter, Eileen, who are 18 and 13 respectively, have a good laugh at the thought of being “older” than their mother is.

Linda Connor and Chris Dinoto, at least in part, have Julius Caesar to thank. The Roman Emperor imposed the Leap Year innovation in 45 BC. The convention was established essentially to bring the calendar year to coincide with the seasonal year. The Earth takes slightly longer than 365 days to go around the son — 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, to be precise.

Because it takes approximately 3651/4  days for the Earth to orbit the sun, every four years the calendar would lose one full day against the seasonal year. Major holidays that are on fixed days of the year would start to come earlier and earlier each year. So Leap Year, or adding one day to the calendar every four years, was implemented to offset the loss of that year due to the true time it takes the Earth to move around the sun. Hence, the seasonal year stays in synch with the calendar year.

Of course, this is a simplistic way of explaining Leap Year. But for Linda Connor and Chris Dinoto, it works just fine. They know that they have a different birthday, a distinct birthday.

“My birthday is taken to a higher degree because it’s every four years,” remarked Chris.

Mrs Connor agreed. “It’s just like another birthday, but what people say to me is that ‘you have a real birthday this year.’”

“It should be really interesting when I can celebrate my real sweet sixteen,” Mrs Connor added.

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