The Tables Have Turned: Leap Year Proposals

Feb 20, 2012

Ladies, get your rings ready. This year is a leap year and according to British Isles tradition, women can propose to men on February 29th. It’s hard to say when this tradition started, but it has been around for several hundred years. It came from a time when women had to wait for a proposal rather than take charge themselves. But in the same way that the leap year balances the calendar (365 days in a year versus the 365 days and 6 hours it takes for the earth to orbit the sun) it evens the gender playing field. In the 1800s and 1900s leap year postcards depicting women plotting to snag a man were rather popular.

Furrer Jacot Wedding Bands

However, the fine for refusing a woman’s proposal back then could be hefty. In Denmark, the man was supposed to give the rejected woman twelve pairs of gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having a ring. In Finland, the woman was owed enough fabric to make herself a skirt. In Norway, Queen Margaret of Scotland issued several fines ranging from a kiss, to one pound in money, to gloves, or a silk gown.

While leap year proposals may seem like an amusing old tradition, the fact is that more and more women every year are the ones popping the question. Surveys have said that anywhere from 5-7% of women have proposed to their boyfriends and this trend has lead to the development of men’s engagement (“mangagement”) rings. Even if the woman hasn’t done the proposing, it’s now fairly common for both men and women to sport rings to indicate their engagement. After all, women aren’t the only ones who like diamonds.

Benchmark Alternative Metal Wedding Bands for Men

King Jewelers offers an exceptional selection of stunning engagement rings, wedding bands, eternity bands, cufflinks, watches, and other wedding accessories. King Jewelers has a long history of extraordinary craftsmanship and quality. We work closely with you to help you realized the engagement ring design of your dreams. If you are interested in your own custom bridal design, please contact us at


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