Happy Leap Day Wedding Day, 2012

If your digital watch skipped February 29th and rolled right over to March 1, you are not alone! Traditions, superstition and folklore are all part of leap day.

But, that didn’t stop one couple from tying the knot today at the Marquette County Courthouse.

It’s sometimes referred to as “Sadie Hawkins’ Day”- a when women can propose to a man. According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years.

This tradition was allegedly started to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

People born on February 29 are all invited to join “The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.” According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are world record holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.

In Scotland, it was considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.

And, an interesting fact that dispels what most of us believe about the every-four-years Leap Year scheduling. While you can calculate which year will be a leap year by dividing the year by 4, that doesn’t apply across the board. In a century year, (1900, 2000, etc.) the year is only a leap year if it is also evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year and 2400 will also be one, but 1800 and 1900 were not leap years.