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Can Women Really Propose on Leap Year in Ireland?

According to an old Irish tradition, women are allowed to propose to men instead the other way around. A man cannot refused on the wedding proposal for he will end up being punished i.e. pay penalty. The fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.

In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

I recall the movie “Leap Year” featuring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in 2010; it triggers my curiosity, “is there any truth to the movie’s premise? After doing some probing, the tradition in Ireland has its origins in the legends of Ireland’s Saints; St Bridget and St Patrick in 5th century. The tradition was then taken to Scotland by Irish monks. Back in 1288, the Scots passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their dreams in a Leap Year. This is known as ‘Ladies Privilege’.

Nowadays, there has been a never ending battle between sexes. Many women community and organization from private sector advocating and upholding their vital function in the modern society. Knowing these facts, it has both good and bad implications. Since it began in 5th century thus affirms the equality between men and women. On the other hand, those single ladies who have been impatient to tie a comfortable knot, can resolves their marital status to follow, as Irish tradition supposedly has it, a woman may propose to a man on Leap Year Day – Feb. 29, once every four years.

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