The tradition of ladies' privilege

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Lady J
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The tradition of ladies' privilege

Post by Lady J »

Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage.:-4

In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn't look down on such women. However, that hasn't always been the case.

According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.

It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose.

According to English law, February 29th was ignored and had no legal status. Folks assumed that traditions would also have no status on that day. It was also reasoned that since the leap year day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage.

The first documentation of this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland supposedly passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. Tradition states they also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine. The fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.



Via St. Bridget’s Complaint

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tabby
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:41 pm
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The tradition of ladies' privilege

Post by tabby »

More recently in popular culture, the idea of "Sadie Hawkins Day" has been used for fun with no legalities involved, much to men's relief, I imagine!

Sadie Hawkins Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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