Leapin’ for the Altar

Ladies, rev your engines! It’s Leap Day, and you know what that means: It’s the one day out of every four years that you can ask a man to marry you and not seem like a wayward whore. 

In a custom that dates back to 5th-century Ireland, folks thought of Leap Day as a day that was sort of beyond the law. Tradition was out the window, and it became a veritable Wild West of love, ladies and gentlemen. You see, during leap years (but particularly on Leap Day), it was fine for a woman to act the aggressor. As one Irish site put it, “Consequently, women who were concerned about being ‘left on the shelf’ took advantage of this anomaly and proposed to the man they wished to marry.”

Not a love match? Then the fella better prepare to pay up. In 1288, Scottish law was supposedly passed stating that a woman could propose marriage in leap years, but if she was turned down, the man owed her a kiss, a silk gown, or a pair of gloves (take the dress!). In Denmark, scorned ladies came away with a dozen pairs of gloves.

Ladies lying in wait.

Men, it’s time for you to slug back a Leap Year highball, and get ready to grin and bear it. Happy Leap Day!

(Thank you to Bridget for the tip! And happy birthday to Lori!)