It’s traditional when a woman takes her destiny in her own hands and asks a man to marry her on 29th February (Leap year day)
The tradition is thought to set back to 5th century, when is believed an Irish Nun called St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose. So, they struck a deal. St Patrick decreed this one day in February, which occurs once every four years, when women could propose.
The tradition is believed to have been 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.
If a man declined a fine must be paid and it could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.
It’s believed in some upper-class European societies, the custom of denial involved buying 12 pairs of gloves for the woman you were rejecting. To hide her shame at not having a ring to wear, of course!
Leap year day has been renamed as bachelor’s Day in certain parts of Europe.