Celebrating the Leap Year

29 Feb

Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage, although in many of today’s cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn’t look down on such women but that hasn´t always been the case! When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years..

It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year. However, it more likely came about because, according to English law, February 29th was ignored, had no legal status (so it was assumed that traditions would also have no status on that day either) and so was reasoned that since the leap year day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage. The first documentation of women being able to propose dates back to 1288, when Mary Queen of Scots supposedly passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in the leap year (although she was 5 at the time so it seems a bit suspicious to me). Tradition states she also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine. The fine could range from a pound to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves!! Bring back that old tradition I say 😉

While you may want to take the plunge and get down on one knee to propose to your man this year, maybe you should wait until 2013 to celebrate the event.. There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year!

Anyway, if you are thinking of proposing, bear these few things in mind:

1)      When choosing your moment, remember this is his proposal. In the same way that he would take you to your favourite restaurant, or buy a ring you like, you need to pick a proposal scenario that will appeal to him whether it be at a football match or on a romantic beach!

2)      Likewise, pick your moment. Be sure to wait for an opportunity where he isn’t absorbed in anything such as watching sport news!

3)      Once you’ve made your move, don’t get be upset if he doesn’t yell ‘Yes!’ straight away. He might be surprised and shocked YOU asked him, or you might have stolen his thunder! Remember, some men who seem to be dragging their feet on the ‘M’ question are actually ready, they just haven’t quite got round to it yet. Also he might think you´re joking! If he doesn’t seem as ecstatic as you might be in the same circumstances, bear in mind that he’s a man and has probably never spent any time fondly imagining how he might react if someone asked them to marry him. Give him some time to get used to the idea.

4)      Don´t be disheartened with a “No”, even if he doesn’t say accept this time, maybe it’ll be his turn to ask you next time!

5)      It doesn´t have to be Leap Year for you to propose! Maybe the idea of being proposed to appeals to you as a romantic gesture (I have to confess it does me..) but if not, I think taking the plunge is a fantastic idea.

Happy Leap year ladies!

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