Happy Leap Day everyone! Today is February 29th, 2016, one of the special leap days we all have only every 4 years. Although we all know that leap year is every 4 years, I wanted to cover some of the facts related to Leap Year below, especially related to how it is handled in Japan.
I am sure there are many customs that go with the Leap Day throughout the world, if you have anything specific, share with me in the comment section. I have heard the ones like, “Women propose to men” on leap day for a change, and of course, there are much talk about the leap day babies. Do they only get their birthday every 4 years? My kids have already asked this question a few days ago.
Leap Year –
Leap year is called “Uru-doshi” in Japanese. It is spelled out as, “うるう年”. “年” is pronounced as “doshi” rather than “toshi”, and it means “year” in English. Interesting, when leap year is expressed in Kanji, it is called “Jun nen”, and character used is “閏年”. However, I have to tell you 閏年 is not much used, where people almost always use “Uru-doshi” in Japanese. Perhaps in writing, you could be describing using 閏年.
Counting ages –
In Japan, we have a specific law that talks about calculating your age. The law basically tells you, you are to get one year older on the day before your actually “birthday”. This is spelled out under the law called “年齢計算ニ関スル法律第1項” (Nen rei keisan ni kansuru ho-ritsu dai ikko). Specifically speaking, you are one year older right when the previous day ends, so at 11:59 PM(previous day). So even if you were born on February 29th on leap year, no problem. You are one year older already on February 28th, each year. I guess this is fair for everyone else who were born non-leap day, right?