Leap Year Marriage Proposal: The Traditions, How to Propose & Extraordinary Proposals From Around The World

Only occurring once every four years, a Leap Year is an exciting time for a number of reasons, firstly there is an extra day in the year, which means that people born on the 29th February can actually celebrate their birthday on the right day, but mostly it is because tradition dictates that women can propose on a Leap Day without the stigma surrounding it being an issue.

Where does the idea of a Leap Year proposal come from?

There are a number of theories of where the traditionof th leap year proposal stems from:

  1. In the 5th Century it is rumoured that St Brigid of Kildare, an Irish nun, asked St Patrick to let women propose after many women were left waiting for a proposal from their boyfriends. He granted her wish and allowed women to propose every four years on a Leap Day.
  2. In 1288 the five-year-old Queen Margaret of Scotland allegedly created a law, which allowed women to propose on a Leap Year as long as they wore a red petticoat. If a woman’s boyfriend rejected her proposal he was forced to pay a fine.
  3. If a woman in Finland wanted to propose to their boyfriend they had to do it on a Leap Day, as it was the only day that gave the couple good luck. If the boyfriend refused he was required to pay a fine, (enough money to pay for a new skirt).
  4. In some European countries, if a man rejected his girlfriends proposal he would have to buy her twelve pairs of gloves to hide the shame of being rejected.



  • 22% of proposals occur on Valentine’s Day, which is the second most popular day of the year to propose, after Christmas Eve
  • 33% of men think that Christmas is the most romantic time of the year to propose, but women disagree and say that Valentine’s Day is more romantic. Based on this statistic it would no surprise if  a woman proposed to a man on a Leap Year.
  • 79% of women say that they’d never propose as they are not brave enough
  • 5% of men think that a woman should propose
  • 65% of men stating that they would say ‘no’ if a woman did propose to them

How to Propose:

The thought of proposing can be daunting for anyone, but it is even harder when there are out-dated ideas surrounding a woman’s proposal to a man. Don’t worry if you remember these few basic rules to proposing, you’ll be absolutely fine!

  1. Consider whether you’re definitely ready. There’s a reason why he hasn’t proposed yet. It could be because he’s lazy or scared of commitment, or perhaps he just thinks that you are not in the right financial position at the moment to be married. Or he could not just be at the same stage as you! Make sure you suss this out before you propose.
  2. Tailor the proposal to him. What does you partner like or dislike? If he likes fishing write ‘Will You Marry Me,’ on little note and attach it to his hook. If he likes football you can write it on the back of a shirt of his favourite team.
  3. Propose in private. Men are very protective of their ego and you definitely don’t want to bruise it whilst proposing. Do you have a spot that you always go together or is there somewhere that you’ve always wanted to visit? Make sure that you find a romantic spot where you can pop the question in private and he’ll thank you for it later.
  4. Get him a ring. If your boyfriend is the kind of man that would wear jewellery then definitely get him a ring. Take a look at our stunning collection of man-gagement rings here. If he doesn’t like to wear a ring why not buy him a watch instead. That way he’ll remember to get to the church on time! 


What if he says ‘no’?

Don’t worry and don’t panic. You don’t know why he’s said no. He may have been planning to propose to you and you just got there first. Or maybe he’s just not ready to make that kind commitment. Instead of thinking this is the end of the world, instead talk to him about why he’s not ready for marriage yet.

Extraordinary Proposal Traditions from Around the World

There are a lot of weird and wonderful proposal traditions from around the world, which we have put together on the infographic below.

Extraordinary Proposal Traditions From Around The World

If you’ve been inspired by this post and would like to propose with one of our stunning engagement rings click here.

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