Every four years we get an extra day tacked onto the month of February ... gee, thanks! I'm not a big fan of February to begin with because it's short which messes up my brain calendar for the month of March which always feels too long to begin with because it's the end of winter and thirty-one days. But this year is a Leap Year which means we have that extra day. So what to do with that extra day - that Leap Day?
Did you see the movie LEAP YEAR? Cute romantic comedy with amazing scenery!
Well, interestingly enough there is a sweet and romantic tradition attached to this once in every four years day. According to Irish folklore, it's the one day in the year when it's totally proper for a woman to propose marriage to a man. It's said that St. Bridget brokered a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men once every four years rather than it always being left in the hands, and control, of the men.
Historians, of course, set aside the folklore and lean toward the premise that it was introduced to balance out the traditional roles of men and women in much the same way that Leap Day balances the calendar every four years.
In some places in the world, Leap Day is referred to as Bachelor's Day. Again, women are allowed to propose marriage instead of waiting for the man to do it. However, if a man refuses a proposal of marriage from a woman on Leap Day, he's expected to pay a penalty. The penalty can be anything from coins to a kiss or a new gown. In many European countries, it was tradition especially in societal upper classes that any man who refused such a proposal must buy the lady twelve pairs of gloves. The reason behind the gloves - no engagement, no engagement ring - twelve pairs of gloves would allow her to hide her embarrassment of not being engaged after foolishly proposing to a man who didn't want to marry her. Somehow, I think it would take more than a new pair of gloves for each month in the year to erase that embarrassment. I think I'd go for a way to embarrass the man.
Of course, where Leap Day may be a lucky day for a woman to ask a man to marry her, in some countries like Greece, it's considered bad luck to get married at all in a Leap Year but especially on Leap Day. I would think men would love that ... they only have to deal with remembering an anniversary every four years instead of every year!! Of course, they still wouldn't remember.
Our modern society has removed most of the stigmas surrounding courting and unmarried relationships but just how brave are women even today? I wonder how many women have the courage to ask a man to marry her on any day of any year even if she knows he might be thinking about it? That's one rejection I don't envy any man. I'm brave enough to ask most anything from a man but marriage, I don't know about that one. Would I have had the courage to ask my husband to marry me if he hadn't done it first? Well, perhaps on Leap Day!
How about you? Brave enough to make that 'Leap'? Were you?
Hope you got yourself some great new reads and are enjoying them. Happy Reading!