Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leap Year

There is a saying to help school children remember how many days are in the different months.

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November; February has twenty eight alone All the rest have thirty-one Except in Leap Year, that's the time When February's Days are twenty-nine.

2012 is a Leap Year, which means this month has 29 days. It also means on February 29th ladies can ask men to marry them, instead of the other way around. I'm supposing that meant something back in the days before equal rights. Although, I've noticed that some traditional things stay traditional. Weddings, fashion, and etiquette seem to be the last bastions of old-fashioned tradition. Even romance novels no longer have damsels in distress. Now they are kickbutt heroines able to not only save themselves, but the hero too.

Back to Leap Year and that women asking thing. According to In keeping with the theme of nature gone awry, a whimsical tradition dating back at least four centuries (and still trotted out at four-year intervals by newspaper feature writers) holds that leap years confer upon women the "privilege" of proposing marriage to men instead of the other way around. The convention was (in literature, if not in reality) that any man who refused such a proposal owed his spurned suitor a silk gown and a kiss — provided she was wearing a red petticoat at the moment she popped the question.

So we'll add an extra day to 2012, babies born on the 29th will have a birthday only every four years, and ladies will need to get out that red petticoat to ask the man of their hearts that eternal question. Will you marry me?

Jill James


Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hey, Jill. Fun post. Back when I was a twenty-something, my uncle was always trying to set me up with guys. So on leap year, as a joke, I sent my uncle flowers with a card saying I couldn't marry anyone because the man I loved was already married to my aunt. The family had a great laugh over it.

Lee Lopez said...

This is a really cute information. I love the idea of a red petticoat!

Josie said...

Fun post, Jill. I forgot that on February 29th a woman can ask a man to marry her.

Being a Disney fan, I noticed that Disney is having a "One More Disney Day" on the 29th. The parks will be open all night.

Mona Risk said...

I didn't know about a woman asking a man in marriage on Feb 29! I have a friend who was born on Feb 29. She didn't like it.

Jill James said...

Ladies, thank you for all the comments. I totally forgot I had posted here yesterday. I'm trying to get my next book edited and up at Amazon, etc.

I was surprised at the red petticoat, but I did know about the Leap Year marriage asking. Some traditions are fun to check out how they started.