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Leap year proposal tradition

2020 Marks a special occasion, its another leap year, and with a leap year comes a great tradition of February 29th wedding proposals.

Whilst ladies are asking their loved ones at any time of the year to get married, we think the tradition of a leap year marriage ask, has a little quirkiness to it, and here is the story behind it all.

Looking back through ancient Irish history, it is said that the tradition began in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid of Kildare bitterly complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait far too long for men to propose.
The legend says that St. Patrick announced that women could propose on this one day in February during the leap year. I'm sure all women were thrilled.

Back in 1288, this was taken to Scotland by Irish Monks, the Scots passed a law that allowed a woman to propose marriage to the man of their dreams in a leap year, with the law also stating that any man who declined the proposal on this day would have to pay a fine.

The law was allegedly passed by an unmarried Queen Margaret (although records show she may only have been five years old at the time) and she put in place a rule that all those women proposing must wear a red petticoat while doing so.

The fine to be paid if a man declined could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. (In 2020, we think the fine should be at least a luxury item)

This tradition comes from another tale about St. Patrick and St. Brigid in which she drops straight to her knee at Patrick's decree, instantly proposing to him. Patrick declined her offer – he was probably too busy saving Ireland from snakes – but he gave her a kiss on the cheek and a silk gown to soften the blow.

In some upper-class European societies, the custom of denial involved buying 12 pairs of gloves for the woman you were rejecting. To hide her shame at not having a ring to wear, of course!

In some places, February 29 has been renamed Bachelors' Day because of the tradition.

So to all those ladies out there looking to ask for your love's hand in marriage, why not do it on February 29th and make a real memory of it all.

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