According to the Huffington Post, “Legend has it that St. Brigid of Kildare, a fifth-century Irish nun, asked St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, to grant permission for women to propose marriage after hearing complaints from single women whose suitors were too shy to propose. Initially, he granted women permission to propose only once every seven years, but at Brigid’s insistence, he acquiesced and allowed proposals every leap day. The folk tale suggests that Brigid then dropped to a knee and proposed to Patrick that instant, but he refused, kissing her on the cheek and offering a silk gown to soften the blow. The Irish tradition therefore dictates that any man refusing a woman’s leap-day proposal must give her a silk gown.” Unfortunately, St. Brigid was only nine or ten years of age when St. Patrick died in 461. Even if we take the latest date for his demise, which is 493, a relationship between St Brigid and St Patrick is unlikely. It is said that bad luck will follow around the man who refuses the lady’s offer. This is why it also is called ‘Bachelor’s Day’, and if a man refused a proposal from a woman on that day, he was expected to pay a penalty ~ sometimes this was a fine of £100, a silk gown, or 12 pairs of gloves so that the woman could hide the embarrassment of not wearing an engagement ring. How things have changed!
“In Scotland, Queen Margaret supposedly enacted a law in 1288 that permitted women to propose on Leap Year Day; however, the woman was to wear a red petticoat to warn her beau of her intentions. Obviously, scholars ruin the effect by pointing out that Queen Margaret was but five years of age at the time of the supposed law, nor is there any written proof such a law existed.
“But Lynn Niedermeier, an author who has written on the history of leap-year proposals, says the tradition can actually be empowering to women. ‘You could argue that the tradition is not as ‘anti-feminist’ as it first appears. It could be seen as something that allows the ladies to shake off their cultural shackles and take charge when the objects of their affection are too inexperienced or timid to propose,’ she told HuffPost Weddings. ‘I think the leap-year tradition may have taken on a more anti-feminist cast when it got mixed up with Sadie Hawkins Day, where the idea is that women need extra help to make up for their own deficiencies, not men’s.'” [See my post on Sadie Hawkins’ Day on my Blog at reginajeffers.wordpress.com]
Time and Date tells us that in some places instead of being “Lady’s Privilege Day” Leap Year is Bachelor’s Day. “A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.”
English law gave no status to February 29. The date was often ignored for legal purposes. Therefore, it was not a “legal” day, and the normal rules of conduct did not exist, especially as they applied to marriage.
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY. I HAVE TWO COPIES THE 2010 FILM (DVD) “LEAP YEAR,” starring Amy Adams (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Julie and Julia, Man of Steel, and The Fighter) and Matthew Goode (Chasing Liberty, Brideshead Revisited, Belle, The Imitation Game, Downton Abbey, and George Wickham in Death Comes to Pemberley).
The Story: When Anna’s (Amy Adams) four-year anniversary to her boyfriend passes without an engagement ring, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Inspired by an Irish tradition that allows women to propose to men on Leap Day, Anna follows Jeremy (Adam Scott) to Dublin to propose to him. But after landing on the wrong side of Ireland, she must enlist the help of the handsome and carefree local Declan (Matthew Goode) to get her across the country. Along the way, they discover that the road to love can take you to very unexpected places.
ONE COPY IS AVAILABLE HERE ON AUSTEN AUTHORS, WHILE THE OTHER IS AVAILABLE ON MY POST ON THE AMERICAN VERSION OF “Lady’s Privilege,” WHICH IS KNOWN AS SADIE HAWKINS’ DAY. COMMENT HERE TO BE ENTERED IN THE GIVEAWAY COPY #1. COMMENT ON Every Woman Dreams FOR A SECOND CHANCE TO WIN. The Giveaway will end at Midnight, EST, Friday, 28 February, 2020.