The day of the leaplings has arrived!

Goans born on a leap day, February 29, reveal how they celebrate their birthdays that come once every four years
GOA'S LEAPLINGS: A few leaplings from Goa speak about their plans for today -- a day which comes once in four long years.
GOA'S LEAPLINGS: A few leaplings from Goa speak about their plans for today -- a day which comes once in four long years.Photo: Catty

Ever wondered what it is like to celebrate a birthday once in four years? Well, those born on February 29 can explain this feeling better. They are unique babies with a special name – Leaplings – and for them an extra day, which is their birthday, is is a rare and special moment.

These leap year babies have no competition – while you have waited for just 365 days to celebrate your birthday, they have waited a long 1,460 days.

TRULY SPECIAL: This year, Catty's best friend threw a party for her on the beach, where she cut the birthday cake.
TRULY SPECIAL: This year, Catty's best friend threw a party for her on the beach, where she cut the birthday cake.Photo: Catty

They never age according to their birthday, and Katherina Joseph, a leapling from Santa Cruz, who celebrates her 24th birthday today, is actually just six-years-old, according to the calendar!

A few of these leaplings spoke to Gomantak Times Digital, revealing what it's like to have a birthday just once every four years.

'I HAD AN AMAZING MIDNIGHT PARTY'

“I am a birthday person,” says Katherina Joseph who celebrates her 24th, or should we say her 6th, birthday this year.

“The day started with midnight wishes, and later, my best friend threw a party for me, where I cut the birthday cake on the beach. It was just amazing!” says Katherina, who loves to be called Catty.

GOA'S LEAPLINGS: A few leaplings from Goa speak about their plans for today -- a day which comes once in four long years.
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Unlike most leaplings, Catty loves her birthday month and doesn’t like to be wished in March. Ask her, why?

“Because it’s March,” she says with repulsion in her voice. While she doesn’t like to celebrate in March, she also doesn’t like to celebrate her unique day with anyone else.

“I get this day just for me, once in four years, I cannot imagine sharing it with anyone else,” says the bubbly, free-spirited Pisces leapling.

FORGET ME NOT: Megan once forgot her own birthday since she was used to celebrating her birthdays a day earlier.
FORGET ME NOT: Megan once forgot her own birthday since she was used to celebrating her birthdays a day earlier.Photo: Megan

'I ONCE FORGOT MY OWN BIRTHDAY'

Megan Baretto, from Raia, who turns 24 today said, “It used to bother me when I was younger, but now I cherish the fact that it’s a conversation starter and never fails to amaze people. It does make me smile when people say I'm blessed to be born on this day.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she didn’t get to celebrate her birthday, but is grateful for every opportunity to celebrate it now.

GOA'S LEAPLINGS: A few leaplings from Goa speak about their plans for today -- a day which comes once in four long years.
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“I’ve looked forward to this day for a very long time, so I'm glad it’s finally here. The celebration may be toned down due to the season of Lent, but it'll definitely be interesting,” says Megan.  

"After years of celebrating my birthday on February 28 and March 1, I once forgot that my birthday is actually on the 29th, and needed a reminder that it was a leap year,” says Megan.  

BIRTHDAY BOY: Joseph Noronha wants a quiet birthday this year.
BIRTHDAY BOY: Joseph Noronha wants a quiet birthday this year.Photo: Walton Noronha

'THIS IS MY 21ST BIRTHDAY'

This young man just turned 21-years-old, according to the leap year calendar, and was always excited about celebrating this birthday.

“I was always excited to celebrate my birthday, they are very special to me. My wife would make sure that everything was planned and organised well,” says 84-year-old Joseph Noronha from Colva.

Unfortunately, due to some medical conditions, he lost his dear wife and has refused any celebrations this year.

GOA'S LEAPLINGS: A few leaplings from Goa speak about their plans for today -- a day which comes once in four long years.
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“I want to celebrate my next leap year birthday with my wife in Heaven,” he quips.

While the family has many plans to celebrate Joseph’s 21st birthday, his son, Walton Noronha, Assistant Vice Principal of Loyola Higher Secondary School, Margao, says, “We would have a great celebration every four years on his birthday, but this year, since my father wasn’t planning to celebrate, we thought to keep the celebrations under wraps."

"My mother always considered this day to be very blessed and special – we would also have our First Holy Communion and baptism celebrations on this day,” he adds.

BIRTHDAY PARTY WITH FRIENDS: Arin Rania Monteiro is all set to celebrate her birthday party with her friends after school.
BIRTHDAY PARTY WITH FRIENDS: Arin Rania Monteiro is all set to celebrate her birthday party with her friends after school.Photo: Alithea

'I’M QUITE ENJOYING THIS RARE DAY'

Arin Rania Monteiro was all excited to go to school today, why? It’s her birthday, and after four years, she would be able to wear her birthday dress to class and distribute goodies to her classmates and teachers.

“My parents make it a point to celebrate my leap year birthday in a grand way compared to the other years in between to make sure I see it as a cool experience,” says the 12-year-old from Loutolim.

"I’m quite enjoying this rare day, and I’m very excited again this year, since I finally get the actual day when I was born, after a wait of four long years,” says adds.

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When she was younger, she didn’t understand what a leap day was. But now that she does, she enjoys the uniqueness of the date, says her mother Alithea Monteiro.

“I feel happy, since having a birthday on a leap day is very rare and I am one of the lucky few. So, on non-leap years, I always celebrate my birthday on February 28th. This is also the birthday month of my dad and mum,” Arin says. 

Last year, she cut the cake at midnight, between February 28 and March 1.

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