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Marry Or Pay? Strange Leap Day Traditions

Will you be popping the question this Leap Day? Find out why maybe you should!

How are you spending Leap Day this year? February 29 is Leap Day, and according to legend, women are supposed to use this day to propose marriage.

But Why?

This legend has a saintly background—dating back to St. Patrick and St. Bridget. Supposedly, these two saints created this idea to help quiet unrest among St. Bridget’s community of nuns.

At that time, nuns were allowed to marry; however, not many of them were being proposed to. St. Bridget herself started the custom by proposing to St. Patrick, but unfortunately he had taken a vow of celibacy and had to turn her down.

Marry or Pay!

This custom caught on, and even became the law in Scotland. In 1288, Scottish law granted women the right to propose during leap years. If the man refused, he had to pay the woman a pound!

In Ireland, women are advised to propose only on February 29 for good luck.

This tradition may sound like the more popular “Sadie Hawkins Day,” there’s no connection. Sadie Hawkins Day was created by Al Capp, the cartoonist, and is celebrated in November of all years, Leap or Common.

Leap Day Birthdays!

Ever wonder if Leap Day babies celebrate their birthdays on the 28th of February or the 1st of March? Most likely it’s March 1 since it might be hard on landmark birthdays (driving age, 21, etc.) to get people to accept your birthday the day before.

Do you celebrate a Leap Day birthday or special occasion? Tell us in the comments below.

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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