When the elusive 29th of February rolls round every four years, it is said that a woman has a brief window of opportunity to take her destiny into her own hands, and propose marriage to her choice of suitor.
This ritual is thought to date back to the 5th Century, when St. Brigit had an early pop at feminism by complaining to St. Patrick that women were having to wait too long for men to get down on one knee, and should be allowed to initiate the process themselves.
Patrick agreed (not very generously) to allow women this right on the extra day that occurs with each leap year, making the 29th of February a date to watch for those men out there who failed to pop the question on Valentine’s.
Irish monks delivered the custom to Scotland, where it actually became a law in the late 13th century – going as far as to require that the man give a positive response, or else pay a penalty to his spurned would-be lover. This was traditionally a pair of silk gloves, handy for covering the shameful lack of a wedding ring on the wearer’s hand.