I have a retired friend about to turn 18. No, she was she not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, nor is she the long-awaited heiress of a family with millions. Instead, she was born February 29th, that Leap Year day added every four years to balance our calendar.
And Leap Years permit special fun. Research says the tradition allowing women to propose marriage during Leap Year began in 5th century Ireland with Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare (bless them). In 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five) passed a law requiring payment if men rejected marriage proposals. Their penalty was paying a pair of leather gloves, a single rose, £1 cash.
American comic strip originator, Al Capp, spoofed that tradition by creating Sadie Hawkin’s Day, a fictional folk-holiday in his great hillbilly strip, Li'l Abner where unattractive but fast-running Sadie could get a bridegroom by outrunning one in a foot race. This inspired frequent Leap Year Sadie Hawkin's dances where girls ask boys out—and possibly start great romances. I remember one I went to . . .
It’s not romantic tradition for girls to drop to one knee and offer marriage. But one of the happiest Christian marriages I know was where the woman did basically that. Her intended was extremely handsome and capable but shy. She was fairly plain but had a wonderful personality and was an excellent homemaker. She proposed, he accepted, they wed, raised a lovely family, and truly lived happily ever after.
Leap Year is here again. Romance writers can create endless fictional or real-life scenarios. Girls, enjoy February 29th and this whole year. If you’re not married, consider setting your sites on your quarry. Grab your running shoes. Lay out your racetrack. Take a deep breath. Ready, set, go—and tell us about it.
If you’re married, how did your proposal take place?
Do you know a great marriage where the woman initiated the proposal? (Truthfully, most proposals are initiated with the proposer being fairly sure their intended will accept.) Here’s wishing everyone success in finding (or capturing) their perfect mate!