Did you know that women are supposed to propose to their sweethearts on Leap Day?! I didn’t, until I read this article in yesterday’s Star:
Feb. 29 has historically been a special occasion, and not just for those born on the leap day. According to Barbara Sutton-Smith, author of The Leap Year Book, the 29th once was the one day when women were encouraged to propose to their sweeties. The tradition is believed by some to go back as far as 5th-century Ireland.
“We have no idea if this is all true, but there must be some semblance of truth,” says Sutton-Smith, “because by 1228, there was a Scottish law that said if a man refused a proposal, he could face a fine.”
Editorial comment: Wonder if JJ knows that? The fine money could come in handy for the next trip to the LYS…
The law fell out of use, but the cultural ritual of women offering themselves to men continued. In the early 20th century, popular leap year greeting cards featured drawings of women cajoling their shy grooms into marriage – or at least a date.
Here’s some examples of the greeting cards: one by Lance Thackeray (early 20th c.):
But, alas, we are actually ensconced in the 21st century, aka the Century of Bling and Crackberries. So, apparently, more upmarket pleasures are warranted for Leap Day celebration, as I read in the travel section of the Star a couple of weeks back:
British tradition says women can propose marriage on Leap Day and London’s historic Mayfair hotel has seized the moment to introduce a “Leap Year Proposal” package, available through March 16.
It includes “Proposal Butler” services, as well as a “Proposal Menu” to help women plan the perfect moment. Rates start at about $1,075 and include accommodation, breakfast for two and bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival. Examples from the Proposal Menu include:
Top-of-the-World Proposal – from a private capsule on the London Eye, over a bottle of champagne and champagne Truffles;
James Bond-Style Proposal – where a private dealer is hired to host a card game in the hotel’s Palms Casino, with the proposal written on a dealt card;
“Bottoms Up” Proposal – a martini with the wedding ring in the bottom of the glass [emphasis added].
So – tell me this, if women can only propose on Leap Day, why are these packages available up to and through two weeks after? Too much of a good thing? Sheesh.
(Having said that, I might sign on for the James Bond-style one, but only if it were guaranteed that I could propose to James Bond himself…
Hmm… was that the whoosh of JJ’s virtual whisky glass sailing past my head?! Couldn’t have been – he doesn’t read the blog – it must be guilt talking. Worry not, JJ…
(I also remembered that I don’t personally believe in marriage, but that’s another story for another day).
So, sorry, JJ. But if you’re guid, there might be a bottle of Highland Park 18 yr in it for you…
Oh, just in case my American friends are feeling a bit left out, I’m reminded that today is apparently Sadie Hawkins Day
So, come on up to Fynn of Temples Pub for 4ish today and make sure to ask one of the ultra cute Tenant Advocates for a dance! They will all be in attendance for the Monthly Tenant Advocates’ Summit – and the celebrations should be particularly hedonistic summit, given that the next Leap Day summit will not occur until Friday 29 February 2036!
Happy Leap Day!!!