Life made simple

It’s February. To Leap or Not?


February is pretty weird, calendar-wise. It has only 28 days, which is great for your January pay cheque. And then every four years, there’s a Leap Year, which has 29 days.

Also, what’s the story with Leap Year and proposing?

Traditionally, a marriage proposal is something a man usually does. We know that. But have you heard of the tradition that says it’s okay for women to propose if it’s a Leap Year?

We did some delving and found out where that tradition comes from.

Irish legend has it that Saint Brigid of Kildare, an Irish nun, asked Saint Patrick if he’d allow women to propose to men, because some men were too shy to do the asking. Saint Patrick said: “Okay, let the ladies do the proposing – but only on Leap Day, February 29th, or things could get out of hand.”

February is pretty weird, calendar-wise.

And that’s how it began. (Well done on your progressive thinking, Brigid and Patrick.)

Finnish folklore says that if a woman proposes on Leap Day and is rejected, her boyfriend must pay a ‘fine’ – in the form of enough fabric to make a skirt. Sounds fair. In other cultures the fine could be paid in the form of a new gown (not a bathrobe, guys, okay?) or money – or 12 pairs of gloves. Actually, we think that’s getting off lightly.

We also say: stop the shyness, everyone. We say anyone can propose to anyone, on any day. But if you’d like to use February the 29th – and please note, that only happens in two years’ time – to ask someone special to swop rings with you, go ahead. Good luck!

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