Taking a Leap!

Leap Day has a variety of myths, uncommon proposals, and celebrations in common with this 2,000 year-old day addition to the calendar.

1. In Greece Leap Day is considered an unlucky day. Any marriage that takes place on this day is said to end in divorce.

2. Leap Day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on February 29 during Leap Years and on February 28 during common years.

3. In Finland it’s customary if a woman proposes to her boyfriend on Leap Day and he should decline he is “fined” and must give her enough fabric to make a skirt.

4. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on Leap Day 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.

5. In Scotland it’s considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day just like Friday the 13th.

6. People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies. Leap Day Celebrities include:


1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
1792 – Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (William Tell, The Barber of Seville) (d. 1868)
1896 – Morarji Desai, former Indian prime minister (d. 1995)
1916 – Dinah Shore, American singer (d. 1994)
1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, former president of El Salvador
1960 – Anthony (Tony) Robbins, American motivational speaker
1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player
1972 – Antonio Sabàto Jr, Italian-born actor
1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
1980 – Chris Conley, American musician and songwriter/composer

7. Legend has it that in Ireland 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 to shy to propose. After allowing proposals every Leap Day, the folk tale suggests that Brigid dropped to one knee and proposed to Patrick that instant but he refused, kissing her on the cheek and offering her a silk gown to soften the blow. Therefore Irish tradition dictates any man refusing a woman’s leap-day proposal must give her a silk gown.

Most of the folk tales above have many historians shaking their heads, discounting their legitimacy. However there is a very notable proposal from a woman to a man. On October 15, 1839 Queen Victoria proposed to Prince Albert.

Whether you harbor a secret desire to propose to your partner or find yourself wondering if Leap Day is factored into your salary enjoy your extra day in the year!

Leap-day facts provided from various sources on the web.

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