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2020 is a leap year
2020 is a leap year

Planning Leap Year Proposals: The Secrets of an Ancient Tradition

Leap years happen every four years as a way to keep us all aligned with the seasons.

It is a year in the Gregorian calendar that adds an extra day to February. To go to all this effort must mean that this old leap year tradition, that’s been around since ancient Rome by the way, must 100% work, right?

It doesn’t. Honest. 

A leap year happens so our calendar, the Gregorian calendar named after Pope Gregory XIII, syncs up with how long it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun. Making sure winter stays winter, spring stays spring, etc. But the truth is we will still go out of sync after a few hundred years. So, we skip a leap year 3 times every 400 years as a quick fix to this issue. But even then, we’ll have to switch it up again in about 3000 years.

Thankfully, to distract the human race from all this annoying leap year maths, people have created traditions associated with February 29th. Well, that’s at least what our team at Franklin’s Gardens thinks. And we believe we can help you with the most famous leap year tradition of all.

Leap Year Proposal

It’s said the leap year tradition began in Ireland and “allowed” women to initiate dances and propose marriage. In 2020 anyone can propose marriage at any time. As well as start any sort of dancing you like, but hopefully not Morris dancing, no offence…

In fact, a few famous faces have proposed to their partners on a leap year. This leap year could be your chance to break out the old fashioned tradition and embrace taking the lead. You can follow in the footsteps of such iconic figures as Monica Geller and Queen Victoria! Although Queen Vic did propose to her cousin Albert, so she’s not a good example…

 But you still have Judge Judy and Elizabeth Taylor who proposed to their partners!

Women proposing is something that has thankfully become acceptable in our modern society over time. You can see this in the lack of women proposing in classic literature compared to modern films and TV. Hollywood even made a film about the tradition. But what exactly is the reason for this tradition?

History of the Leap Year Traditions

The tradition is associated with Ireland and St Bridget back in the 5th century. She is said to have complained to St Patrick that women had to wait for ages for their partner to propose. St Patrick then gave all women the opportunity to propose once every four years on February 29th.

Another version of the story starts in Scotland with Queen Margaret imposing fines for men who rejected proposals on a leap year.

In fact, there are many stories of imposed fines, particularly in Denmark where men were required to provide 12 pairs of pristine gloves for the women they’d spurned. Why?

The gloves were to help hide the shame of not having a ring on their finger. Apparently, this was a fair compromise. Although, it’s funny to think about these traditions they do have a sexist history.

History of Women Proposing

By the 19th century, leap year traditions were the butt of jokes characterising women who propose as romantically aggressive. A lot of advertisements and merchandise like postcards depicted women with nets and weapons trying to force men into marriage. But this doesn’t mean you can’t take this tradition and turn it into something positive for you and your partner.

Every relationship is different. If you want to be the one to propose, then it doesn’t matter who you are, and it shouldn’t matter what time of year it is. But as it’s a leap year in 2020 you have the perfect excuse to pull off an amazing proposal for your partner. And here at Franklin’s Gardens, we can help.

Proposing at Franklin’s Gardens

Proposing at Franklin’s Gardens can be an ideal opportunity for any rugby loving couple and with our vast range of hospitality rooms, bars and suites, there’s a multitude of places that you can pop the question.

At Franklin’s Gardens we also offer the facilities to hold a special wedding day for all. If you would like to plan a proposal or a wedding, then get in touch today and see what we can offer you and how we can help make every moment special for all involved.

Contact Us Today

If you are looking for the perfect proposal or wedding venue in Northampton or any of our event venues interest you give our team a call today on 01604 599136.

Or fill out the enquiry form on our contact page today if you have any questions. Thank you for reading this blog. We hope you’ve learnt about some interesting leap year traditions!

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