Ladies, have you found the man that you want to spend the rest of you life with?
Are you just waiting for that special man to pop the question and finally put a ring on it?
Many cultures around the world adhere to the idea that, as February 29 is an “unusual” or “rare” day, this makes it a day where the ordinary rules don’t apply. Some cultures also view leap years or leap day itself as a fortunate time to begin an important business venture or other undertaking. Children conceived or born during February 29 are also said to be “favored by Dame Fortune” and will have good luck or be lucky for most of their lives.
The “unusual” tradition of women proposing to their men on February 29 is mostly associated with Ireland. The tradition is tied up to the legend of St. Brigid, an Irish nun in the 5th century. St. Brigid was said to be tired of hearing the complaints of women with suitors who were taking too long to propose. St. Brigid brought these complaints to St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick then suggested that women be allowed to propose every leap day.
A further twist to this legend was that this conversation between St. Brigid and St. Patrick took place on a leap day and – when he granted women permission to propose on that day – St. Brigid got down on one knee and promptly proposed to St. Patrick! St. Patrick turned her down, but kissed her on the cheek and offered her a silk gown. This lead to another Irish tradition that any man who turned down a woman’s leap day proposal would have to give her a silk gown.
That’s the most popular version of women proposing on leap day, but another legend from Scotland attributes “Ladies’ Privilege” to an unmarried Scottish queen, Queen Margaret.
Queen Margaret allegedly made an actual law in 1288 which allowed women to propose on leap day. Like most laws, this one had a clause to be fulfilled and a fine attached.
The clause was that the proposer needed to be wearing a red petticoat and this had to be partially visible under her skirt so that her intended was given some warning that she planned to propose.
As for the fine, turning down a proposal was said to be ill-luck for the man – and he would also be fined 100 pounds.
Another “fine” in certain European societies for turning down a woman’s leap day proposal was to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. This was so that she could wear the gloves to hide the fact she did not have an engagement ring.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, the day for women to propose on a leap year is February 24.
In Finland, the day for women to propose is still February 29, and it is considered good luck for the couple BUT if the man should refuse, the fine is enough fabric for a skirt.
Greece, however, doesn’t think much of leap year weddings. A leap year is considered inauspicious and they believe the couple will likely end up separating.
If you want to participate in this leap year tradition and propose to your beloved in the romantic city of Venice, we can help you do just that. At Venice-etc., we help you arrange the romantic proposal that you want, on the date that you wish to make it. We will see to it that your proposal can be as traditional or untraditional as you want.