“Leap Day”


Happy Leap Day blog readers! And do you know what that means? Well, hike up your petticoats and  gird your loins because according to folk traditions in the British Isles, today is the one day a woman is allowed to propose to her man.

There isn’t any concrete evidence of the archaic custom (save a line in the 17th century play The Maydes Metamorphosis), but according to various sources, Leap Day was seen (by the English) as a solution to “fix” a “problem” in the calendar and was deemed appropriate to also use to “fix” the unjust custom of the proposal as the man’s prerogative.

In 1288, the Queen of the Scots supposedly passed a law (she was five) requiring men who rejected a proposal to pay fines ranging from a kiss to a silk dress. On the proposer’s side of things, women with plans to snap up a mate were required to a red petticoat as “a fair warning,” according to the WSJ. Hilarious, right?

Well, if that didn’t make you chuckle, I hope you get a kick out of these postcards from the early 1900s:

That last one is my personal favorite.

Got any special Leap Day plans of your own? If that’s you, all of my admiration and good luck to you!

(images c/o Wikimedia Commons)

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