For those that are superstitious, 2016 promises to be a special year. In regards to marriage, there’s apparently no better time to get engaged or get hitched. Almost no matter where you look on the planet, there’s a tradition pertaining to February 29th and marriage. It turns out that the particular meaning of the leap year varies depending on where in the world you live.
In Greece, it’s actually bad luck to get married in a leap year. This believe spans the entire length of the year and not just the bonus day itself. The inauspicious activity of getting hitched in years divisible by 4 is said to almost certainly end in divorce. Brides that plan to be with their groom’s into their golden years would be wise to choose an early or late wedding date that falls either the year prior or the year following the leap year.
Finnish women have 1 day a year when they’re advised to pop the question. On February 29th ladies all over Finland propose to their boyfriends in hopes of getting married. The special day is said to bring good luck to the union if the man accepts. If he refuses, according to Finnish tradition, he is required to pay a fine in the form of fabric for a skirt.
The Scots take February 29th very seriously. Queen Margaret allegedly enacted a law in 1228 that allowed unmarried women, like herself, to propose to the man of their choice of that day. However, the queen had the foresight to realize that this custom could be unnerving, so she required the proposer to wear a red petticoat in order to warn her intended that she was about to ask him to marry her.
Ireland’s leap year marriage tradition is perhaps the most well-known of them all. In Ireland, women are advised to only propose to their beloved on February 29th if they wish to have good luck and a long marriage. This tradition came about after St. Brigid of Kildare, a fifth-century nun, petitioned St. Patrick to grant women the permission to propose to their shy suitors. St. Patrick originally gave permission for women to propose every 7 years, but was persuaded to change it to every leap day.
After the grand compromise, it is said that St. Brigid dropped to one knee and asked St. Patrick to marry her. He refused and gave her a silk dress instead. To this day, it’s tradition for the man to give the woman a silk gown if he refuses her proposal on a leap day.
The superstitious tradition of ladies proposing on leap day continues for those who wish to have a little added luck in their unions. Some call the tradition anti-feminist, though others view the special day as a way of creating another chapter in their love story.