Quirky Traditions on February 29

Every four years we experience a leap year, which adds an extra day to February and brings about many legends and traditions that have been around for centuries.

From babies automatically entered into an exclusive club when born on a leap year, to a French publication that only produce content once every four years, there are many interesting folk traditions from all over the world that make February 29 so very fascinating.

Women Were Given the Right to Propose

Irish and British tradition have said that a deal was made between Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid around the 5th century because women were waiting far too long for proper suitors to propose to them. Marking this as “Bachelor’s Day”, women were given the chance to propose to the men of their choosing and if the men refused, the women would be compensated with money or silk gowns. From the mid-twentieth century, there was an addition of a fur coat to the list of gifts men were required to give the women who proposed.

The same tradition was found in Finland where women were allowed to propose to men and if they were denied, the men were to compensate with beautiful fabric to make a skirt.

In some upper-class traditions from Europe, the humiliation of having their proposal rejected by a man would earn her 12 pairs of gloves, to hide her shame for not having an engagement ring on her hand.

Unlucky in Love and in Marriage

While it seems unlucky to be rejected on a leap day, it is also considered to be very unlucky to get married in Greek tradition. This has become so ingrained that one-fifth of all engaged couples will actively avoid getting married during a leap year.

Lucky and Unlucky to be Born on a Leap Day

All over the world cultures have a belief that being born on a leap day is either very lucky or extremely unlucky. The odds of being born on February 29 is 1 in 1,462, which makes the birthday rare and pretty interesting.

While in some countries leap day baby (also known as a “leapie”) is thought to be doomed to live a life full of hardships, other cultures believe they will be showered with money and gifts from their good fortune.

Leap Day Cocktail

Whether you consider a leap day lucky or not, there is always the chance to share a Leap Day cocktail with someone to kick off a year or excitement and opportunity. First created in 1928 by a bartender named Harry Craddock who worked at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, the drink is a refreshing combination of gin, lemon juice, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth, and garnished with fresh lemon peel.

Whether you believe a leap day is considered lucky or not, it’s a great conversation starter and a fun excuse to go out and have a little fun! You can even check out local bars and lounges to see if they make Leap Day cocktails too!