Leap Year Day Knowledge Base
WOMEN ALLOWED TO PROPOSE!
What?! Allowed? Wow. Talk about "old school". A woman, a lady, may ask a man to dance, or for a date, and she may also ask for his hand in marriage. It will not take away her femininity, or her dignity. Why should it?
There's nothing wrong with women asking. Unless of course, you are among the many different groups of people who do see that as very un-lady-like.
I was born in 1960, so being a teenager all through the 1970s afforded me the independence many generations before me did not experience. Being 16 (4) in 1976, at such a time in history for women rights, showed me that being a woman did not have to be so textbook. So, this legend that women were allowed to propose to men only in a Leap Year was quite astonishing to me.
The legend has it that in the year 1288, in Scotland, it was made legal for women to propose to men in a Leap Year only. If he declines, he must provide her with a silk dress, or a pair of gloves. There was a fine for the guy if he said no! That's so unfair. I am so thankful that is not the case today.
The legend spread around the world and soon there were many Leap Year Balls and Leap Year Dances. Some were being held so the women may ask the man to dance. And some were specifically for the woman to ask him for his hand in marriage.
Leap Day and the events because of Leap Day, are often mistaken for Sadie Hawkins Day, but that is in November. The only similarity is in the fact that the woman has the opportunity to do the asking. February 29 is NOT Sadie Hawkins Day. It is Leap Year Day, or simply, Leap Day.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were many postcards depicting women asking, even begging, the man to marry her. The postcard on the bottom right is a perfect example of the woman asking for his hand. She has gone straight to the man's father to ask him.
Well, here in the early part of the second millennium, it is more of a romantic idea than law. There are many people wanting to ask, or even get married in a Leap Year. If you have, or know of, a website specifically addressing Leap Year weddings, please let us know. I get quite a few emails inquiring about Leap Year weddings. It will be nice to have a reference.