The Leap Year Proposal – What Does it Mean?


Today’s blog is intended for those of you who are uncertain about the tradition of a leap year proposal.

This year it’s a leap year—introduced to balance out the Gregorian Calendar with the Solar Year.

“A leap year, where an extra day is added to the end of February every four years, is down to the solar system’s disparity with the Gregorian calendar.

A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. So leap seconds – and leap years – are added as means of keeping our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth and its seasons.” [read the full article]

The tradition goes way back to Ireland and the Fifth Century when St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for suitors to propose. He gave women a single day in a leap year to pop the question—the last day of the shortest month. The story goes that Bridget went down on one knee and proposed to Patrick but he declined, kissing her cheek and handing across a silk gown to ease the disappointment. The first historic record of a woman proposing on February 29th comes from 13th Century Scotland, where a law was passed stating that a man refusing a proposal on the leap year must pay a fine, which could range from a kiss, right through to a silk dress or, most commonly, a pair of gloves.

The leap year proposal is not for most women. Many will dismiss the idea as a ridiculous tradition, but for others it will be seized opportunity to do things differently. The day that comes around only once every four years so for those who will be acting upon tradition, they will need to think fast, and watch out for the gloves.

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website.

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