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How We Feel Celebrating Our Birthday Every Four Years.

BIRTHDAY celebrations are yearly rites performed by almost every human either in gratitude to God for witnessing a new year or just for the profane reason of attaining another age. While some roll out the drums depending on how deep their pockets are, some often celebrate in sober reflections on their lives while others also celebrate with the underprivileged in the society. However, there are those who were born on a certain day of the year and whose birthday only appears on the calendar once every four years. They are those born on February 29th, which implies that they are quadrennial birthday celebrants.

Many spouses and friends sometimes get upset with one another when the other party forgets or could not turn up to felicitate with them on their birthdays. The question arises whether despite celebrating their birthday only once every four years, those born on February 29 also get upset when friends, colleagues and family members still fail to give them birthday shout-outs.

Perhaps, friends and family members are not to blame for this. It might even turn out that some February 29 celebrants themselves are not always enthusiastic about their birthday.

Given the penchant for people to celebrate their 40th, 50th and 60th birthdays and so on with more fun fare than at other ages, what happens if the 40th birthday, or so, falls into a year that is not a leap year?

Speaking recently about the quadrennial birthday phenomenon, Adio Tayo Ibrahim, a food scientist, expressed his joy for being born in a leap year. Revealing how he has survived the ridicules from his friends about his birthday, he narrated how and when he normally marks his new year.

'I was born on a special day and always feel great about it. I am used to seeing my friends celebrate their birthdays every year without me doing same. My friends and family members usually make jest of me for that, which never bothered me. I see them as being envious of me for having a special birthday.

'Although my birth date does not come every year, I have settled it in my mind that I attain a new age every March 1st, but I celebrate my birthday on the day I was born, not yearly. My day comes once in four years. This is not a minus for me; in fact, one thing that is special about those of us born on February 29 is that we normally look younger than our age.

'And I don't get crossed with my friends when they fail to celebrate with me on my birthday. Most of the time, I don't even remember, until I see notifications from my bank and Facebook,' he said.

In the same vein, Mariam Musa, a graduate of Zoology, who is in her early 20s, was not short of joy for being born on the same date when Sunday Tribune accosted her, despite the efforts of her friends to make her feel otherwise. She explained her replacement therapy for the yearly birthday celebration she misses, as she cushions the year-in-year-out taunts from her friends.

According to her, 'I see no reason why I should be sad for being born on February 29. In fact, I always feel special about it. Likewise, I don't feel bad when my friends celebrate their birthdays, because I choose to celebrate mine by replacing the date.

'Usually, I celebrate it on February 28. What gets me upset several times is when my friends, especially the naughty ones taunt me about the absence of the date on the calendar for three years in a row. They often say: 'Your date has disappeared from the calendar again. Sorry o.''

However, Mr Tunji Dare, a building contractor who resides in Jos, Plateau State, took a different view to the birthday issue. For him, being born on February 29 appears to be an event he would have loved to change if he had his way. The building contractor who is in his early 60s feels constricted by the quadrennial ritual.

He told Sunday Tribune: 'Honestly, this makes me feel bad. When others celebrate their birthdays yearly, I don't feel comfortable. I am not okay with a four-year-routine. Whereas people who had their birthdays other than February 29 can decide and plan to celebrate the way they want, such is not possible for me and others like me. This does not suggest that I allow it to negatively affect my behaviour and attitude to life and towards others who celebrate theirs yearly. And for me, I don't put myself under the pressure of making up for the day on a yearly basis; I wait for every leap year to celebrate it. Although there are times when my wife would put up a surprise by marking it for me, which I appreciate, yet I always await 366 days' calendar year to mark it.'
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Feb 24, 2019
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