Leap Year Traditions

There’s an old leap year tradition that a woman can only propose to a man on one single day in four years – on 29th February. If you believe in traditions like this… today’s the day! Act now ladies or be forced to wait another four years.

The fact of the matter is there’s no reason why a woman can’t ask a man to marry her on any of the other 1,460 days in a four-year period – after all, we live in a 21st century world of equality.

But where did this leap year tradition of a woman only being able to ask a man to marry her on 29th February come from?

Like most these things, the history is a little hazy… but there are a couple of theories.

Although much disputed, the first theory dates back to 5th century Ireland when St Bridget was said to have complained to St Patrick that women generally had to wait far too for their men to propose. In return, St Patrick gave women just the one day in four years to pop the question – on 29th February.

Others say that in 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland was behind a law that allowed unmarried women the freedom to propose during a leap year, and that any man that refused was given a fine. However, this theory is widely discredited as Queen Margaret was only eight when she died and would have been just five at the time of the law. Also, no records of any such law have ever been discovered.

Another idea is that it dates back to a time in England when the leap year day was not recognised by English law. So, in theory, it was acceptable to break the usual tradition of a man having to propose if this day had no legal status.

If you believe in leap year traditions or not, whether you think a woman should be able to ask a man to marry her – on only 29th February or any other day – we’d love for you to share your special day with us at the Bank House in Worcester.

Visit our wedding pages for more information about our great-value Worcestershire weddings.

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