Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Leap Year Traditions

The history, lore, and not-so-much-true facts about Leap Year!!!

A leap year is a year with 366 days, instead of the usual 365. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars with the same number of days in each year, over time, drift with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected.  

One exception to the leap year rule involved century years, like the year 1900. Since the year is slightly less than 365.25 days long, adding an extra day every four years results in about three extra days being added over a period of 400 years. For this reason, only one out of every four century years is considered as a leap year.

Leap Year Day used to be recognized in everyday things, in advertising and games and books. People were aware of it. Almanacs would mark it, tell people to prepare for the extra day. As recently as the early 1900s, concerts and balls were held throughout the leap years. 

<<< Leap Year. The Right Side of the Law” Illustrator: Ellay [?]; the Philco Publishing Co., Holborn Place, London WC; Series 4030 Postmark 1908 Cards for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and even Leap Year appear with legal themes. The Leap Year card seems to reference an old-fashioned bit of folklore that deemed it appropriate for women to propose to men on February 29.>>>

According to tradition, in fifth-century Ireland, Bridget of Kildare convinced St. Patrick that since 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. 

>>>Saint Brigit of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (c. 451 – 525) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered<<<

A supposed law in 1288 by Queen Margaret of Scotland required fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation was deemed to be a pair of leather gloves, a single , £1, and a kiss. Women looking to take advantage of the opportunity to propose were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—to give men the opportunity to run the other way. 

>>>But is Queen M's Leap Year Proposal Law real? Read more here.<<<

Queen Victoria sanctioned the “right” of women to propose marriage to a man, or at least ask him to dance. If the man declined to marry, there was at least a consolation prize—he was supposed to provide a silk dress and a kiss on the cheek. 

>>>An illustration from 1840 titled 'Leap Year' shows Queen Victoria proposing to Prince Albert at Windsor Castle in 1839<<<

In Finland, if a man refuses a woman's Leap Year Day proposal, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.

Today Anthony, Texas is known as the Leap Year Capital of the World. The festival draws about a thousand tourists for its once-in-four-years celebration, including as many as seventy Leap Year Day babies plus friends, family and “leapophiles” for a weekend-long festival featuring a golf tournament, nature hike, a 5K run, a barbecue at a local pecan farm, wine tasting, a chuck wagon breakfast, balloon rides, and a parade.

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is available on Amazon!

In celebration of Gina's 11th release, she is giving away digital copies of SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS to three commenters during the Release Party this week.  Let us know in the comment you want to be entered and leave your email address so we know you aren't a troll (such as LovesWildfires (at) gmail dot com). 

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is the 9th release in Forget Me Not Romances American State Flower series, sweet romances based around state flowers. Felicie is a skeptic when it comes to Leap Year traditions! What do you think about a woman proposing marriage to a man?


GINA WELBORN worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She’s the author of eleven inspirational romances, including the ECPA-bestselling Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. Gina is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. She lives with her husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. 


  1. Congratulations on your newest release. I LOVED reading all the fun facts about leap year and the marriage proposals. The red petticoat so men knew to run the other way! Love it! I'd like an entry, please.

    1. Carrie, I think a red petticoat warning would be something fun to write about!

  2. I would so love to read this! I'm not a robot:). amyfields417@yahoo.com

  3. Hee hee . . . this is so much fun and so interesting.

    Yes, the red petticoat warning would make a great story!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.