Leap Year welcomes babies, birthdays

Leap Year welcomes babies, birthdays

HATTIESBURG, MS - Today is Monday but it is not just the start of another week. Feb. 29 is also known as leap day and for others it is a birthday celebration.

Sophie Mutters was born seven pounds, 12 ounces at Forrest General hospital at 1 a.m.

"My friends were like she's going to be a leap year baby and I'm like whatever day she's born," said her mother Victoria Mutters.

What Sophie does not know is that her birthday will not show up on the calendar each year. Instead, she will have to wait every four years. So what will she do to celebrate?

"We are thinking about one year celebrating the 28th and one year on the first," Mutters said.

The leap day was added to the calendar to line up with the Earth's orbit because the Earth takes 365.24 days to travel around the sun, which is not even a quarter of a day.

"If we don't add a leap day every for years or so then over time the calendar and the seasons will creep out of agreement with each other," University of Southern Miss Chair of Physics Department Chris Winstead said.

Winstead also explained that the concept of a Leap Year was formed by the Egyptians.

"They figured out that the calendar was kept getting out of sync when they just used the 365-day calendar," Winstead said.

After this discovery, Julius Cesar decided  to add a day to the calendar every four years, but he failed to remember that 365.24 days is less than a quarter of a day.

Then Pope Gregory XIII stepped in and made a few important corrections to the calendar.

"Century years aren't leap years unless they are divisible by 400," Winstead said.

Thanks to Pope Gregory XIII and Cesar, people like Sophie and WDAM News Director Nick Ortego get to celebrate their special day on a Leap Year.