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Today is Leap Day—You Proposing?

In case you’re in a daze, it may have escaped you that Wednesday didn’t happen last year. We’re in a Leap Year, and Wednesday, February 29 is Leap Day. There isn’t much magic to Leap Year—every four years we add it to sync our calendar year with the seasonal one. In spite of the disappointingly boring reasoning behind Leap Year, international folklore contributes to the buzz around it. So to drag yourself out of your daze, read up on the following Leap Year facts.

Popping the Proverbial Question
Some say that in the fifth century Saint Brigid of Kildare and Saint Patrick agreed that on Leap Day women could propose to men. It’s a fitting explanation, seeing as though the supposed deal was intended to balance traditional male and female roles—just as Leap Day balances the calendar.

Make Saint Brigid proud. If you’re tired of waiting for your boyfriend to propose, ask him instead. Build up your courage with the 2010 movie “Leap Year” starring Amy Adams. But beware—the Greeks consider it unlucky to marry during the Leap Year. Take good care not to rush to the altar after proposing.

Thanks, Margie
Here’s a bit of history for you. In 1288, as a Norway-dwelling five year-old, Queen Margaret of Scotland signed a law decreeing that men who declined marriage proposals on Leap Day owed their poor admirers a little something for their trouble.

Scottish women of the thirteenth century were to be compensated for their rejected Leap Day proposals in a number of ways. Queen Margaret saw fit that the unobliging man make good with a kiss or a silk dress. In Denmark, tradition holds that the spurned women be gifted 12 consolatory pairs of gloves to hide the shame of her ring-free finger. Take your pick, man. Better yet—take the poor lass as your wife.

Born this Way
When most people think of Leap Year, the Leapers or Leaplings born on February 29 come to mind. They enjoy 75 percent fewer birthdays in their lifetime, but of course when their day finally does roll around it makes Golden Birthdays look like small potatoes. To add to the long list of superstitions associated with Leap Year, it was once considered unlucky to be born on February 29. Leaplings were even expected to be sickly and hard to raise because of their rarely seen birthdate.

Come Wednesday, the world won’t look any different. But knowing all the traditions that attend it sure make Leap Day as whimsical as it sounds.