Thursday, February 28, 2008

Role Reversal

Happy Leap Day!

Here's a piece of little-known trivia. According to Irish tradition, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years, on February 29th.

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.

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.
Leap Year tradition spread around the world and evolved to include balls and dances. Some were held in order to allow women to ask men to dance and some were specifically designated for women to propose marriage.
Leap Day and its traditions are often compared to those of Sadie Hawkins Day in the U.S. but while the customs are the same-a day which allows for women to propose marriage-Sadie Hawkins day actually takes place in November.

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