Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year

So would you propose on Feb 29?

I often wonder where this folklore/legend/mith came from? Here are a few answers I found on the web, all pretty much the same answer, but interesting just the same.

As you will see in this post, I won't be proposing today, but good luck to all who do.

Answer #1
In 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland decreed that in a leap year, a woman could pop the question to any man, so long as he was single.

Should he refuse such an offer, he should be fined pounds 1.
Alternatively, the lady could claim a silk gown as compensation.

According to Nancy Fenton, the head of marketing at, this was the origin of the phrase "scarlet woman". "In order to propose on a leap year, the woman had to wear a red petticoat sticking out under her skirt," Ms Fenton explains.

"This meant that it was bad luck for the man to refuse."

Answer #2
Rules of courtship are quite different these days (and much less strict), but long ago women who were hoping to marry had to wait for their beaus to propose.
They were not "allowed" to pop the question themselves, except on one day: on a leap year (February 29th) -- also known as Sadie Hawkins Day -- which occurs every four years.
The tradition dates back hundreds of years, to when the leap year was not recognized by English law; the day was simply "leapt over" and ignored.
Since it had no legal status, formal traditions did not apply on this day.
Consequently, women who were not content to wait for a proposal took advantage of this anomaly and popped the question themselves.
It was also thought that since leap year corrected the discrepancy between the calendar year (365 days) and the time it takes for the earth to complete one orbit of the sun (365 days and 6 hours), it was an opportunity for women to correct a tradition that was one-sided and unfair.
Go ladies of yore!

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