Proposing to your man in a leap year is a very old tradition. Folklore has it that back in the 5th Century, St Brigid, an Irish Nun, asked St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, to give permission for women to propose marriage after hearing complaints from single women whose beaus were too bashful to propose.
Not to be outdone, the Scottish can trace back their leap year tradition to 1288, when Queen Margaret enacted a Scottish law which allowed a maiden “liberty to bespeak ye man she likes” during a leap year. The knave who refused to marry her and could not prove his engagement to another was liable for a fine. There was a catch though, the proposer had to wear a red petticoat to warn her intended that she planned to propose.
Maybe this is where the Finnish have grown their tradition from. Apparently, in Finland, it is considered good luck to propose to your boyfriend on the 29th February and if the response isn’t favourable then your boyfriend (or ex as the case may be) is required to pay a fine – enough to cover fabric to make a skirt… let’s hope it’s now enough to buy an elegant outfit from a boutique… or at least a good box of chocolates and maybe some ice cream too!
Our own Southern Hemisphere tradition states that for good luck, girls, your proposal should be on leap day (February 29), however, with modernisation and to keep our men guessing, any day in a leap year is now considered fair game. Of course, in today’s world, no one needs to follow rules or guidelines when it comes to relationships and marriage, but sometimes it can be nice to have tradition on your side – and, of course, it adds to the romance of the story.
If you’d like to see our range of engagement rings (for a man or a woman), come in and see our team at Showcase Jewellers Te Awamutu, we’d love to help you out.