February 29th.. A Ladies Privilege To Propose. A Leap Year Tradition.

Songbird BStarred Page By Songbird B, 12th Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2ieqz52o/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

A Leap Year Tradition, on February 29th, can strike fear in the hearts of men as the tables are turned, and woman are allowed the 'Ladies Privilege' to propose to the man of their desire..Folklore perhaps, but in this month of Love, tradition can still play out its role in history.

February 29th.. A Ladies Privilege To Propose.

Well here it is guys, almost the end of February, the month of Love is drawing to a close, and 2012 is a Leap year..and that means ladies who have been hoping for a nice marriage proposal by now, just might be thinking of taking the situation into their own hands to hurry things along a little...Well might you be nervous...

An Irish Legend would have us believe that St Bridget of Kildare, (sometimes also known as Brigid) a Catholic Nun, started the tradition of women taking the upper hand and proposing to men, after she complained bitterly to St Patrick, back in the 5th Century, that some men just took too long to pop the question to their future intended.
No matter how much they teased or cajoled, some men just wouldn't take the 'hint' when their loved one tried to coerce them into proposing, and something should be done about it.. Poor St Patrick was caught between a rock and a hard place. He could cast Snakes out of Ireland, but was completely at sea when it came to dealing with an irate woman with something on her mind.

St Bridget And Irish Folklore..

After putting forward the suggestion that women could propose to their chosen one once every Seven years, Bridget was obviously in the haggling frame of mind, and with a determination that still flows through every woman's psychological make up, sweet-talked him into agreeing it could be every Four years instead. Hence every Leap Year, when February 29th comes around, women of certain ages get a gleam in their eye as they snuggle up closer to their chosen one and get ready to pop the question to their unsuspecting counterpart.

The Definition of Leap Year..

Without going into all the complexities of why we have Leap Years, as one of our valued Wikinut writer's Val Mills, have covered this in her article Blessed With An Extra Day In 2012: It's Leap Year, it is often said in folklore, that unusual things occur on unusual days and can have far-reaching consequences...but then folklore has been built upon such stories and superstition as this.
The term 'Leap Year' came about because this extra day at the end of February every four years, was not recognised and so was 'leapt' over and ignored. If it was not recognised, then the Law and the usual precedence did not apply as it did for all other days, therefore normal tradition could be turned on its head.
At any other time, a woman proposing to a man would be unacceptable, yet this extra day every Leap Year, would allow women equality with men.

It didn't always mean it went down well though..
Should the man refuse the proposal of his beloved, he would have to pay a forfeit for doing so. This forfeit could be a kiss, a pair of gloves, thought to hide her embarrassment of not wearing a ring, or a new gown for the lady in compensation of her loss.
It is said that once St Patrick agreed to honour February 29th, St Bridget fell to her knee and asked if he would marry her. Although he gently refused due to his calling, she was richer by a new gown! Smart woman!

A 'Ladies Privilege' Becomes Law.

In 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland officially recognised February 29th in Law, as the day a woman may ask the man of her dreams to marry her. It was also officially decreed that a fine would be imposed on any man that refused, of money to the value of £1.
Mind you, we have to take into account that a) Queen Margaret never actually resided in Scotland, but lived in Norway, and b) at the time of issuing this decree, she was actually only 5 years old! A precocious child indeed, but one who still knew the value of money..

Traditionally it was also said in Scotland, that to give a man fair warning of her intent, a maiden would wear a red petticoat under her dress which must be visible to him so he could be prepared for her popping the 'question'! It somewhat takes the element of surprise away, doesn't it?

Some other traditions from around the world relating to Leap Year Proposals according to Wikipedia:

*In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on the bissextile leap day, February 24th, and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves.

*In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman's proposal on leap day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.

*In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year.

A leap Year Poem:
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.


Now should the lady pop the question, and better still, if her man accepts, the next step will be setting the date and planning the Wedding.
This is the part that most men are grateful they don't have to arrange, as it can prove to be an emotional minefield of family stress, so the potential groom generally and wisely, give it a wide berth and leaves it to his bride-to-be as main organiser and he just fits in where and when he is needed.

On researching this article, I came upon some interesting and informative facts concerning nuptials. Have you ever wondered where some of our Wedding Traditions and Customs originated from...?
How, for example, did the word 'Wedlock' come into being, and how did the Best Man's role evolve?
If I have piqued your curiosity, click on this link and you might be surprised at what you discover...

Truth Or Fiction..You Decide..

As of most fables and folklore lost in time, the validity of the origin of a 'Ladies Privilege' is difficult to corroborate. What can be little more that hearsay can work its way into history and become a distorted form of truth and fiction.
Having recently published an article on the Origins and Traditions of Valentine's Day here on Wikinut, I soon became aware in my research, how much conjecture comes into play when trying to ascertain accuracy of certain subjects, but it does not restrict it being an enjoyable and possibly an enlightening read. As of most folklore, there just might be a grain of truth hidden in it somewhere, and the fun can be finding out where.

Why not join us here at Wikinut and earn royalties as you write?

Image Credits;
Wikimedia Commons
St Brigid/Bridget Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Kaydup2003Wikimedia Commons

Tags

Equal Rights, Equality, Fables, February 29Th, Folklore, Folktales, Ireland, Ladies Privilege, Leap Day, Leap Year, Leap Year Traditions, Proposal Of Marriage, Romance, Romantic Love, Songbird B, St Bridgets Complaint, St Patrick, Traditions, Wedding Customs, Wedding Traditions, Women Proposing

Meet the author

author avatar Songbird B
Hi there! I am Songbird B, and I am a semi-pro female Jazz vocalist. I have a huge passion for Jazz music, and I love writing Poetry, which I have done all my life. I am very Spiritual in my beliefs, and love Photography, Music and Garden Design....I...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Songbird B
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Thank you for moderating this Mark and how quickly it was published. Thanks for your constant encouragement my friend. I do not class myself as an Article writer but more a Poet, so every article I submit can be a challenge...lol.\0/x

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Too funny to read about the history and traditions of a Leap Year.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

This is really quite tongue in cheek, and made for a really enjoyable research area. Please click on Snake link as there is a wonderful poem on there that will make you smile..

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Marvellous piece and pictures are outstanding...good on you Songbird chirping about Our Rights....LOL

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Hahahaha..why thank you so much, I am glad that you enjoyed my friend..

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author avatar angel_jenny
19th Feb 2012 (#)

A great read and glad I was proposed to last year as I wouldn't have had confidence to ask myself ;). Only 2 more months till my wedding yay x

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

How wonderful Jenny! Those two months will fly be..Thanks for looking in on me..

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Ah Songbird, will you be proposing to anyone this year :-)

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Well.....LOL! Guess I had better not, or the husband might not be too pleased...tee hee hee..\0/x

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Wonderful news. I'll stay at home on 29th Feb and away from all ladies just to save expenses or damages as you may call them.
Very informative article which shows the extensive research you have done on this subject.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Ah GVR, you are a man much in demand my friend..lol..Thank you for looking in on me ..

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Funny historical facts about the leap year tradition...

A wonderfully written star page. Nice presentation with the appropriate images.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

I spent endless hours trying to locate Leap Year images for this article, and it was pretty hard work too, as so little out there that we could use. Glad you enjoyed Rathna..

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author avatar ittech
19th Feb 2012 (#)

thanks for share

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Thank you ittech..

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author avatar Tess Irons
19th Feb 2012 (#)

I enjoyed reading this article, Songbird B. You did a good job on your research. The images are great.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

It is very light hearted but made for some interesting research, Tess..

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author avatar richardpeeej
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Such a well-researched and well written article Bev, and so worthy of a star page. There is quite a history to this that I was unaware of. The images are well suited too my friend :-)

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

The images were definitely the hardest part Rich..Please click on Snakes link, there is such a wonderful poem on there..I know that you would enjoy it..\0/x

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
19th Feb 2012 (#)

I have to be on guard now to save on some expenses! What an outstanding work, Songbird, with such details and research so beautifully told, Rich collection of pictures too! siva

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Thank you Sivar...Us women can be devious so take care that you don't get whisked off your feet..LOL!

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author avatar Buzz
19th Feb 2012 (#)

What else can I say, dearest heart? They've said it all for me. Just have to congratulate you for the great star page. Hugs and kisses! Buzz

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Ah dear Buzz, different lifetimes and maybe I would be taking a Ladies privilege with you my dear friend..lol.. I bet the girls will be all standing in a queue for you on the 29th..MWAH!x

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author avatar NancyG in TN
19th Feb 2012 (#)

very good songbird! I had thought about something of this nature but I could never do such a great job as you did with the photos, illustrations and all! Good work!

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Thank you Nancy..I did wonder if I would see more than one article about this subject..lol..Glad that you approved of my take on it..

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
19th Feb 2012 (#)

Songbird. I know what a lot of work you put into this page. You have done a brilliant job. Thank you for showing me how much improvement I need to make.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Oh Ivy, I still feel that I have a long way to go yet as Article writing never comes easy to me.. This was hard work but the Star merit really made it worth the effort..

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author avatar Sheila Newton
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Oh, yeah - pity about that. I'm already married. tsk-tsk!!
Brilliant article. Colourfully presented with colourful content. You are one talented lady.

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Bless you Sheila! lol..Yep, I am long time married too, almost 30 years now! mind you, thinking about it, I think I did propose to my husband way back in 1983..Who needs Leap Year? LOL!

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author avatar Funom Makama
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Simply Brilliant... Nice for the education about other cultures and beliefs..

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Hello Funom, thank you for looking in on me my friend..

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Simply delightful, thank you Songbird:0)!!!

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2012 (#)

Thank you Delicia..Always great to see you here my dear friend..Your constant support means so much to me..

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author avatar Val Mills
21st Feb 2012 (#)

Songbird, I'm glad I've finally caugyht up with this article from you and very humble and thankful for your mention of my earlier article. I really like the style you've written this in and enjoyed reading it.

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2012 (#)

It is rather tongue in cheek Val, but am so pleased that you enjoyed it, and the link to your article was a delight to add,,,

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author avatar Simone Warner
21st Feb 2012 (#)

Enjoyable, amusing, informative and nicely presented! Great work Songbird!

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2012 (#)

Hi Simone...So nice to see you and thank you so much for such positive feedback..

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author avatar Jules Castillo
21st Feb 2012 (#)

that's something to fear if the man doesnt not want marriage.......that's odd but would be interesting, i wish we have that tradition here and i'll find out how many will propose to me...hahahaha.

i just enjoyed the page

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2012 (#)

The women would be lining up Cowboy just to try and catch your eye... Thanks for posting dear friend..

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author avatar Retired
5th Mar 2012 (#)

My grandmother was from Scotland. I always knew they were some extremely smart women lol. Learned something new and got a chuckle too :)

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author avatar Songbird B
5th Mar 2012 (#)

Hello Dee, and how lovely to meet you on my page! Ay, those Scottish ladies are a canny lot when it comes to cash! lol So glad that you enjoyed my friend..

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author avatar Kingwell
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Songbird, Another great read. Learned something new today.

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Hello my friend..So glad that you found this article informative and interesting..

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author avatar Ptrikha
7th Jan 2014 (#)

Quite interesting!

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