According to an old Irish legend,  St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.(Anyone remember the 2010 film, “Leap Year”?) St Brigid was way ahead of her time, as these days 25% of people think that the “man must propose” tradition is outdated or sexist!

Thinking about getting down on one knee?

According to a survey* 44% of men would say yes if their partner popped the question on the 29th of February. (We’ll ignore the fact that 11% of cash strapped men said they’d like their partner to propose so they wouldn’t have to buy her an engagement ring…)

Famous Women who have Proposed

Famous ladies known to have done the asking include;

  • Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Halle Berry
  • Heather Mills
  • Pink
  • Queen Victoria
  • Jennifer Hudson



Scotland – The leap year tradition was then taken to Scotland by Irish monks. Back in 1288, the Scots passed a law that allowed a woman to propose marriage to the man of their dreams in a Leap Year with the law also stating that any man who declined the proposal on this day would have to pay a fine. The law was allegedly passed by an unmarried Queen Margaret (although records show she may only have been five years old at the time!) and she put in place a rule that all those women proposing must wear a red petticoat while doing so.

Greece – In Greece it’s considered unlucky to get married in as leap year.

Denmark –  In Denmark, women are supposed to propose not on 29th but 24th February, which hails back to the time of Julius Caesar. A refusal to marry by Danish men means they must give the woman 12 pairs of gloves! The point being the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

Finland – If they refuse a proposal here, the men must give a woman fabric for a skirt!


Don’t wait around for him!

Many women who want to get engaged take advantage of the leap year tradition and propose, saying they’re tired of waiting to be asked. Last leap year, in 2008, for example, a British woman proposed to her boyfriend live on the radio on Feb. 29.

“After nine years together and no ring, I thought it was time I took matters into my own hands,” said the bride, Lorraine Sayers, after popping the question.

That same year, another British woman, Sally Metcalf, took the plunge, proposing to her boyfriend, Steve Metcalf, on bended knee after 10 years of dating: “I don’t regret doing the proposing myself because Steve always said he would never marry me and it would be a very long engagement, so I was fed up waiting,” she said. “I would say to any woman who is waiting for her man to propose, just ask, get down on one knee and ask the question. As long as they love you, they shouldn’t say no. I think any day of the year would be good, although it does feel special that we got engaged on February 29.”


So, would you think about proposing to your man?