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Empowering Leap Year Proposal: Discovering the Origins and Significance of Women Proposing to Men

She Proposed - Leap Year Proposal

A leap year proposal has become a popular tradition in recent times, with many women taking the opportunity to propose to their partners on February 29th. The origin of this tradition is shrouded in mystery, but there are many fascinating stories and legends associated with it.

Some say that it dates back to the fifth century when St. Bridget of Ireland complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for men to propose. Others believe that it was a law passed by Queen Margaret of Scotland in the 13th century, which allowed women to propose to men on leap year day.

Whatever the origin may be, the leap year proposal tradition has become a symbol of empowerment and gender equality. It gives women the chance to take the initiative and make their feelings known, regardless of societal norms or gender roles.

If you’re thinking about popping the question this leap year, go for it! You never know, it might just be the start of a beautiful journey together.


At Pink Caviar Events, we firmly believe that the idea of a leap year proposal should not be restricted to just one day every four years. If a woman feels ready and wants to propose to her partner, any day of the year is the perfect time to do so.

However, there is no denying the charm and allure of a leap year proposal. It adds an extra element of surprise and excitement to the proposal, making it even more memorable. That’s why we wanted to delve deeper into the history and significance of the leap year proposal tradition.

By understanding its roots, we hope to inspire more women to take the leap and propose to their partners, whether it’s on February 29th or any other day of the year.

Empowering Leap Year Proposal: Discovering the Origins and Significance of Women Proposing to Men

There are a couple of theories behind this, but the most popular one dates back to Ireland. Saint Brigid of Kildare had asked Saint Patrick for permission for women to be allowed to propose to their suitors. This is the same Saint Patrick, who is the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is the same Saint Patrick we dress up for in green clothes and go out to have a Guinness.

Saint Brigid had asked because there was a rising complaint that men were not proposing to their girlfriends. The main reason was that they were apparently ‘too shy’ to ask. Initially, Saint Patrick had allowed for women to propose once every seven years. Brigid did not think this was good enough and had asked to make it every leap year.

The next course of the event’s come under speculation. It was said that when the law changed, and women could propose every leap year, Brigid had gone down on one knee and proposed to Saint Patrick Himself. However, she was refused by him.

The legend goes that he bent over and kissed her on the cheek to let her down gently. He also offered her a silk gown to ease the rejection. As a result, the Irish tradition, therefore, dictates that any man refusing a woman’s leap-day proposal must give her a silk gown.

Queen Margaret and leap year proposal

The story of Queen Margaret of Scotland and the red petticoat is a fascinating one. Legend has it that the queen was concerned about the plight of young women who were too shy to propose to their partners.

So, she decreed that on leap year day, women could propose to men, but they had to wear a red petticoat as a sign of their intention. The red petticoat was meant to be a warning to men that they might be proposed to, and they should be prepared for the possibility.

The idea caught on quickly, and it became a widespread tradition in Scotland and other parts of Europe. Today, the red petticoat is no longer necessary, but the idea of proposing on leap year day still holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Whether you choose to propose with a red petticoat or not, the most important thing is to follow your heart and take the leap if you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with the one you love.

Other Theories

The tradition of the 12 pairs of gloves is believed to have originated in the 19th century and was popular in countries such as France, Italy, and Denmark. It was seen as a way to level the playing field between men and women when it came to proposing marriage.

In those days, a woman proposing marriage was considered taboo and frowned upon. So, by imposing a penalty on the man for refusing the proposal, it was believed that he would think twice before turning down the woman’s offer.

While the 12 pairs of gloves might seem like an odd penalty by today’s standards, it was a sign of the times and the social norms of the day. Today, however, women proposing to men is widely accepted, and the penalty of gloves has fallen out of favour.

But the idea of proposing on leap year day still holds a special place in the hearts of many, and it remains a cherished tradition for those who want to take the plunge and pop the question.

As we have said before, we believe that any man/woman can propose to whomever they choose, whenever they choose. But at least you now know where the tradition comes from and have a few days to prepare.

If you would like a hand with your proposal, contact us – your Sydney wedding planner specialists and stylists. If you are serious about asking your man’s hand in marriage, then here is your chance. That being said… it is only a few days away 😉

Did you see someone propose on the leap year day? Are you planning to propose in 2020 or figure its too soon? Do you think the traditions are too archaic or this tradition is fine? Join the discussion below and let us know your thoughts 🙂

Published by Stephanie Cassimatis

Stephanie Cassimatis is the founder and head stylist of Pink Caviar Events, a corporate event management and styling company based in Sydney, Australia. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Stephanie is known for her impeccable taste and attention to detail, as well as her ability to bring her client's visions to life. In addition, she is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), a credential that reflects her commitment to delivering high-quality events on time and within budget. Stephanie is also a respected speaker and educator, sharing her expertise and insights with aspiring event planners and designers through workshops and conferences.