PROFILE: Zane Bertero celebrates his fourth birthday

PHOTO: On Feb. 29, Bertero celebrates his fourth leap year birthday as he turns 16 years old. Bertero has never met someone with a leap year birthday. 

By Dahlia Kraus, Staff–

The chance of having a leap year birthday is one of out 1461, which is only 0.0007 percent. That means about 225,000 people in the U.S. are leaplings, while the other 329,000,000 celebrate normal birthdays. Davis High sophomore Zane Bertero is one of those rare leaplings.

Bertero was 20 minutes away from being born on March 1 instead of the leap day. This year Bertero gets to celebrate his birthday on Feb. 29, his real birthdate, but in the following three years that day will disappear and force him to celebrate on March 1.

Leap years keep our calendars on track because it takes the Earth 365.242 days to orbit around the sun. 

The typical 365 day year leaves out the 0.242 days (five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds), so to account for that time Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. introduced the leap year to the Julian Calendar. Every four years, Caesar added an extra day at the end of February, making that year have 366 days. However, this added about three extra days per 400 years, which over time threw off the solar year and seasons.

As a result, in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII eliminated the extra days by removing one out of every 400 leap years. Today we use his Gregorian calendar.

Bertero is one of few people with this unusual birthday situation. Bertero does not love the fact that he has a leap year birthday.

“Honestly, I’m not too big of a fan of it because I don’t have a specific day [to celebrate],” Bertero said, adding that his non-leap year birthday celebrations are practically non-existent. When there’s no Feb. 29, “most people forget my birthday when it comes around to this time of year,” Bertero said.

Also, it annoys Bertero that people excessively ask him about having a leap year birthday because he does not find his birthday especially exciting. In fact, a few days before his birthday, Bertero had no celebration plans other than his usual family birthday dinner.

On the other hand, there are a few reasons Bertero enjoys having a leap year birthday. “You get to say you are only 16 at age 65,” his older sister Celine Bertero pointed out. Bertero uses his birthday as a fun fact about himself and agrees it is unique.

His birthday is unique, as he is unique.

Cooking is one special aspect of Bertero, which he started five years ago when his mom enrolled him in an adult cooking class. Being the only kid “felt a little bit weird,” but Bertero picked up a passion for cooking. Now his favorite dish to cook is Italian Chicken Marbella, chicken with dried fig sauce. “Zane cooks great ‘teen food’ like pasta, but he makes the best chocolate cake from scratch I have ever eaten,” his mom Ginger Bertero said.

Additionally, Bertero has played golf since he was four years old and has dramatically improved his skills over the years. His response to people calling golf a fake sport is that “it’s more of a different style of a sport, but it’s still considered a sport.”

For his birthday, Bertero played a round of golf with a friend, who does not even know it is Bertero’s birthday. Evidently, Bertero does not consider his leap year birthday a big deal.

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