Leap Year Traditions

So, turns out this February wasn't just about pancakes, Valentine's Day and competitions. What makes February 2016 even more special is that it's a Leap Year - and, as we're about to find out, that doesn't just mean an extra day in the month. Here's our roundup of the wackiest and strangest traditions and beliefs that we've discovered around Leap Years - who knows, you might even want to celebrate some of these next week?! Time for the ladies to propose Tradition goes that St Brigid/Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women the chance to propose to men once every four years, on a Leap Year, in order to balance the conventional roles of the two sexes. So ladies, if you're feeling brave this year, why not get down on one knee and propose to your man on February 29? Gloves and rebuttals Linked to the reversal of women and men's roles in Leap Years is the fact that, in some areas, the extra day in February is also known as "Bachelor's Day." However, guys, beware - if you refuse the proposal from our other half on February 29, tradition in some countries dictates that you will have to buy her 12 pairs of gloves so that the lady may hide her embarrassment of not having an engagement ring! This weird and wonderful convention dates back to the Middle Ages, where strict laws were used to enforce it. Unlucky for some... Despite the fact that we usually associate Friday 13th with bad luck, some cultures and countries also consider February 29 as an unlucky day. In Scotland, it is considered to be unlucky to be born on this day, while in Greece marriage on the Leap Day is thought to be very bad luck indeed. Birth dates Did you know that the chance of being born on a Leap Day is 1 in 1,461? People born on this day are known as "leapers" or "leaplings" and there are around 4.1 million people around the world born on February 29 - anyone born on this day is invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies! Proverbs As well as having lots of traditions and superstitions associated with it, the Leap Day also brings with it many proverbs and beliefs. A Scottish proverb states that "Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year," since it was thought that a Leap Year was bad for livestock. In Italy, as in Greece, a Leap Year was thought as a bad time to plan special events, particularly weddings, due to the popular saying that "Anno bisesto tutte le donne senza sesto" which means that "In a Leap Year, women are erratic!"

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