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Leap Year Traditions

Updated on May 30, 2013

Leap Year

Single Men Beware-2012 is a Leap Year

Leap Year Tradition

Thirty days hath September,

April, June and November;

All the rest have thirty-one,

Excepting February alone

Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine,

Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

Traditionally when it comes to proposing marriage, it falls on the male to ask his sweetheart if she would do him the honour of becoming his wife.

This year however is a leap year and on the 29th of February the tables are turned.

It is a leap year tradition that women propose marriage on the 29th of February

And if the man says no then he must pay a fine, the fine can be anything that the girl desires from a simple kiss to a very expensive piece of jewellery.


Scottish Law

The tradition that originated in Ireland in the 5th century,

St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

In Scotland in 1288 a law was passed that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. And any man who refused would have to pay the fine.

not part of the law but as a good luck charm,they should also wear a red petticoat under their dress - and make sure that it is partly visible to the man when they propose.


Sadie Hawkins Day

Sadie Hawkins Day, developed out of the popular cartoon strip "Li'L Abner" by Al Capp.

In her article in the Baltimore Sun on Feb 29, 1992, writer Sandra Crockett writes- "a female character named 'Sadie Hawkins' who lived in the fictional town Dogpatch was having a tough time getting a man to propose to her. Her father, the mayor of said fictional town, declared one day, 'Sadie Hawkin's' day.

The unmarried women in Dogpatch ran -- literally -- after unmarried men to propose that day."


In 2008 my wife and I will celebrate our 12th year of marriage, we were married in 1996 which was a leap year, my wife to be proposed to me on February 29th and I accepted (Being a thrifty Scotsman, not wanting to pay a fine)

We Married in May the same year (It is considered unlucky by some to marry in a leap year).

and they have been the happiest 12 years of my life.


A person who was born on 29 February may be called a "leapling". In non-leap years they usually celebrate their birthday on 28 February or 1st March.

For legal purposes, their legal birthdays depend on how different laws count time intervals. In England and Wales the legal birthday of a leapling is 28 February in common years . so a leapling born on 29 February 1980 (example) would have legally reached 18 years old on 28 February 1998.


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    • Eliminate Cancer profile image

      Eliminate Cancer 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I love it!! Sadly, the man in my life will be out of town on the 29th... I'll have to wait 4 more years...

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I'd better hurry up and find a guy to propose to on February 29th. It sounds like fun! Thanks for the information. A fun hub and voted up! :-)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Jimmy ~ Interesting bits of information for this special leap year. The little one on your lap looks a bit stunned to hear the news! Blessings, Debby

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My neighbor was born on leap day. He will be celebrating his 3rd birthday, but he'll be 12 years old:)

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      I never heard the tradition of the men paying a fine if they refuse a woman's proposal of marriage on Feb. 29th, but I think it's great! I also kind of like the red petticoat -- it gives the men a little warning. :) Fun and very interesting hub! Voted up and SHARED!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      So, did a lot of men plan to be out of town on Feb 29? If you can't find 'em you can't fine 'em?

      Our neighbor's son was born on Feb 29 so he kiddingly only reports his age as to how many Feb 29th's there have been since his birth. I think he is 8 this year! (He's 32.)

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)


      What a great Hub! I really enjoyed reading it three days before February 29, 2012.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 9 years ago from east of the equator

      I can't believe that you even new this was leap year a full two months ago. I only found out this week when I looked at the calendar. Great hub with a great variety of info. Cheers

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 9 years ago from Scotland

      Have you been proposed to today? let us know guys.....jimmy

    • profile image

      Vasili 9 years ago

      The very first Sadie Hawkins Day took place on November 9, 1938! One day later, the First President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk passes away!

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Jimmy - I always knew that Feb 29th was the one day that a woman could ask a man for a date without being considered forward and un-ladylike. But I never knew that she could also propose and that the man was denied the option, which women have always had, of declining the proposal.

      Lucky for you that that Feb 29th came before some other fellow met your wife and proposed to her before you got around to it!

      Great Hub as usual. Happy New Year to you and your family.

      P.S. how much was the fine that you avoided by accepting her proposal? Lol!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Aha! - In 2008 we have a month with one EXTRA DAY TO WRITE HUB PAGES! Yippeeeee!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      Very interesting! My aunt is a leapling! ha... what are the rules in the US?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Super HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      IĆ°unn 10 years ago

      wonderful hub, jimmy :)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Jimmy, for these pieces of trivia. Never knew about this at all!

      Also enjoyable was your personal story, and how you disproved that leap year marriage superstition!

      I have a niece born on Feb 29, who can properly celebrate her b'day this year!

    • manoharv2001 profile image

      Manoharan 10 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

      Nice blogging, Thanks happy and prosperous new year

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 10 years ago from Scotland

      Thankyou NightFlower and Abhinaya, i hope you both have a great 2008.....jimmy

    • profile image

      Abhinaya 10 years ago

      Great hub.I didn't know there were so many traditions for leap year.The poem took me down the memory lane.I try to remember the days in a month this way till date.

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 10 years ago

      I'm definitely coming back to this one...