2020 is well upon us and this year is a leap year! This means that the year has 366 days instead of the usual 365 days.
The extra day is added to the month of February, which now becomes a 29-day month instead of a 28-day month. This is the year that traditionally women propose to men.
In some places, 29th February has been renamed Bachelors’ Day because of the tradition.
The history behind the Leap Year proposal..
The tradition is thought to date back to the 5th century, when an Irish nun called St Brigid of Kildare complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose. As a compromise, he told her that women could, from then on, propose to their man on the leap year.. And it seems as if a LOT of women decided to take him up on the offer.
In fact, in the 13th century a law was passed in Scotland that ruled that any man refusing a proposal on the leap year must pay a fine! This could range from a kiss, right through to a silk dress or, most commonly, a pair of gloves. The idea behind the gloves, was to ease the shame for a woman not wearing a ring.
Who do we know that has joined this tradition?
Nowadays, it’s less of a surprise for a woman to propose to a man and plenty of strong celeb women have decided to take matters into their own hands.
In 2009, Dax Shepard proposed to Kristen Bell, but the couple famously pledged not to get married until everyone legally could. Following the Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) and overturning California’s Prop 8, the Frozen actress celebrated marriage equality by asking Shepard to marry her.
Another female celeb to pop the question was Britney Spears. Back in 2004 Britney proposed to Kevin Federline while they were flying from Ireland to New York City. At first, Federline said no as he was surprised that she had asked him, so he turned the question around on to her and they married in October 2004.
In 2005, Pink took her marital status into her own hands by proposing to motocross star Carey Hart at the Pro 250 class finals. As he entered the third lap of the race, she held up a sign that read, “Will You Marry Me?” followed by one that said, “I’m serious!” when Hart failed to pull over.
Over the centuries, as men and women have become more equal, the idea that women in a strong relationship can take charge of the proposal should be a positive one. But is it actually the case?
Social dating app TrueView revealed that while 31% of men actively disliked the idea of a woman proposing to them, as they felt it wasn’t ‘traditional’, there were PLENTY of men who were up for the idea of their lady getting down on one knee.
It’s a similar story when it comes to dating; 86% of men are happier to let women take control, admitting they would love it if a lady asked them out on a date! And 80% of women would be just fine with that.
“It looks as if equality is definitely alive and well when it comes to the dating arena,” says TrueView founder Matt Verity, “which is great; men love to be asked out, and women clearly like doing it too!”
Speaking about the 31% of men who hate the idea of their girlfriend popping the question, he added: “Maybe there’s still a little way to go before men – and women – are comfortable with the woman being the one proposing marriage. Perhaps by the next leap year after this, who knows, things might have moved forward a little…”
So.. Would you propose to your partner?
If you’re thinking 29th February 2020 is the day that you will be proposing to your beloved, you better get planning.
If you want to stick to a tradition, women used to have to wear breeches or a petticoat on the day of the proposal, to give a fair warning – and possibly a chance to escape!
We believe that the setting is now the most important part of a proposal. With some risking their lives for the ultimate proposal – great if you pull it off, but, a safer option – how about a neon sign? An LED backdrop? Or some love letters? How could he refuse after you’ve gone to so much effort and created such a beautiful setting and bonus – not put either of your lives in danger.
But finally, what if they do say no?
According to tradition, Queen Margaret reportedly ruled that men who refused the proposal would need to pay a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, a pair of gloves or a fine of one pound.
The idea behind the gloves was to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.
Jokes aside, either way, it is good to have a response ready. Don’t make the question an ultimatum, it may take him by surprise and he might need time to think it over.
To take some pressure off, here’s some random facts about leap years:
- Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. Because a complete orbit around the sun takes slightly longer than 365 days – 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds longer, to be precise.
- Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year around 46 B.C. But Pope Gregory XIII had to fine tune things around 1,500 years later. He declared that a year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, is not a leap year
- People born on Leap Day are called ‘leaplings’ or ‘leapers’.
- The chance of being born on a leap day is one in 1,461.
- Lord Byron was born on a Leap Day. So was the rapper Ja Rule.
- If you’re on a fixed annual wage, you’re basically working for free on February 29.