Leap year proposal: Why women traditionally propose on February 29

As the idea of a traditional marriage between a man and a woman begins to fade, so does the idea of women only being allowed to propose on a leap year day.

But according to old tradition, women are only allowed to ask someone for their hands in marriage on a leap year day.

Tradition previously dictated that the man should take the active role in a proposal.

While this tradition for many may seem outdated, others still like to adhere to it.

This year is a leap year, meaning tomorrow, on February 29, many women will go down on one knee.

But why do women traditionally propose on a leap year day? Where did it come from? Here we explore.

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The tradition of women proposing on a leap year day is thought to date back to the 5th century.

According to legend, an Irish nun called St Bridget was so sick of women having to wait too long for men to propose.

She complained to St Patrick and he eventually struck a deal where women were allowed to propose on a leap year day.

It wasn’t until the 19th century when it was normalised.

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Women who wanted to propose had to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat while they popped the question.

In the Middle Ages the man had to pay a fine to the lady in question if he declined the proposal.

This could be paid in the form of a new gown, money, or 12 pairs of gloves.

The reason the man could give the woman gloves is that she could use them to hide her embarrassment that she is not wearing an engagement ring.

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