While conversing over a bowl of pasta with my partner a couple of nights ago, we got on to the topic of unique proposal ideas that we had seen from sources such as Facebook and the rest of the web. This is when I brought up the leap day tradition, to which I got a puzzled gaze across the table from my other half... He had NO idea what I was talking about! That’s when I thought that other people may not either, so it could be good thing to share! Though the next leap year isn't until 2016, I found it interesting that my American partner (I am British), had never even heard of this concept of a female being ‘allowed’ to propose on a certain day; once every four years on leap day. Although originating from the UK, I had no idea that this tradition was recognized more so there than in any other country.
Let me share these leap day folk tales with you…
For those of you who may not have heard of this tradition, it is believed to have been introduced in order to balance the traditional roles of men and women; in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
The origin of this leap day proposal tradition has been attributed to two historical figures in particular. The first is St. Brigid of Kildare, a fifth-century Irish nun. It is claimed that she asked St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, to grant permission for women to propose marriage as she complained that women were having to wait too long for their suitors to propose to them. So St Patrick gave women a single day in a leap year in which they were allowed to propose; Leap day.
Another popular story is that of Queen Margaret of Scotland. It is said that in 1288, she brought in a law setting fines for men if they refused marriage proposals put by women on a leap year. Such compensation was deemed to be a single rose, £1, a pair of leather gloves and a kiss.
Quite surprisingly this tradition is still continuing, though rather than being viewed as simply the one day that women are ‘allowed’ to propose; it has now become more of a romantic gesture and a relatively popular phenomenon for ladies wanting to break the ‘social rule’ and be the one to propose. According to a survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation back in early February of 2012, more than a third of British women were thinking about popping the question on Leap Day 2012!
So what do you think ladies? Leap Day or not, would you propose to your man?
With all that Life has to offer,
Sian (pronounced Shawn)
Sian Pill // Apprentice Planner AKA The Intern // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis