Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year traditions



Today is February 29th, a date that occurs only every 4 years. It's also called "Ladies Privilege" Day, a day when women are allowed to propose to men.

Here's some additional interesting information about February 29th.

St. Bridget's Complaint

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.

February 29th in English Law

According to English law, February 29th was ignored and had no legal status.

Folks assumed that traditions would also have no status on that day. It was also 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 this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. They 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 kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.

Sadie Hawkins Day

In the United States, some people have referred to this date as Sadie Hawkins Day with women being given the right to run after unmarried men to propose.

Sadie Hawkins was a female character in the Al Capp cartoon strip Li'l Abner. Many communities prefer to celebrate Sadie Hawkins Day in November which is when Al Capp first mentioned Sadie Hawkins Day.

Greek Superstition

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.



Ivanhoe said...

Yikes - I am glad we are not Greek as we would have a bad luck getting married this year. Love the new banner! Have a great weekend!

Mags said...

Now...if only I had someone who would say "Yes" to me if I proposed. :)

It's too bad, really. I look hot today. ;)

the teach said...

Thanks Ivanhoe. I took that pic in Orlando Florida!

And Mags I'm sure you look hot everyday!

Gellianne said...

Hmmm.Ladies Privilege Day! I will tell that to one of my friends! Thanks for the visit at my TT post!

Desert Songbird said...

First of all, love the new photo header. Reminds me of that fountain in Savannah.

This post is very interesting considering I'm attending a wedding this evening. It's her second, his first. Hope this one sticks!

Gattina said...

I didn't know that ! I had to look in my dictionary this morning, everybody was talking about leap day and I had never heard of it, lol !

Chuck said...

I just wanna know when birthdays are celebrated. Hey, once the fast is over (with the lemonade), then I do OJ & veggie broth, etc. and by day 14 I eat... Need I say more. Good weekend to ya!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Teach. That was interesting. I'm sure I shouldn't be surprised (but I am) that it used to be illegal for a woman to propose marriage.

- Anne

Linda said...

I wonder what the statistics are for couples marrying on the 29th of February? I'm sure if you want it to fall on a Saturday then you really have to plan way ahead and be willing to wait!

Sandy Carlson said...

Leave it to the Irish to make good use of a day in this way. I enjoyed this post, Mary. I made my way through the day without proposing anything to anybody. Maybe in four years....