The story behind leap year proposals and how the tradition is changing
29th Jan 2020
February 29th (leap day) famously only occurs once every four years. This rarely occurring day is needed to keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar aligned with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun which takes a fraction over 365 days. There’s something rather romantic about the mysteries of our planet and this majestic day. It’s unsurprising that it’s known as the day that a woman can take charge of her own destiny and propose to the man she loves. This tradition is thought to date back to the 5th century when St Bridget, an Irish nun complained to St Patrick that men take too long to propose, leaving women waiting. This led to a deal that allowed women to propose on this one day that occurs every four years. In many European countries, tradition says that if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on leap day, he should pay a fine in the form of a new gown or 12 pairs of gloves. The idea behind the gloves was so that women could hide their embarrassment of not adorning a beautiful engagement ring. Many women around the world, still use this tradition to their advantage, a lot like Amy Adams’ character in 2010 romantic comedy, Leap Year, where she follows her boyfriend to Dublin to propose. But today, it’s not just the 29th of Feb when women are taking the ‘leap’ and proposing; take Monica’s candlelit proposal to Chandler for example… [caption id="attachment_2401" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Monica proposing to Chandler (Metro.co.uk)[/caption] More and more women are taking the lead. Actress, Kristen Bell, for example, popped the question over Twitter; .@dazshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove”. He, of course, replied F*** yes! Her stunning platinum emerald-cut diamond engagement ring simply dazzles. Pink also took control of her own marital status and proposed to her partner, motocross star, Carey Hart at the Pro 250 class finals. During his third lap of the race, Pink held up a pit board reading “Will you marry me?”, followed by another, reading “I’m serious!”. Even royalty, Queen Victoria proposed to Prince Albert. In her diary, she talks about how shes invited him to her room, where she proposed. She wrote, “I really felt it was the happiest brightest moment of my life.” Her engagement ring was crafted with yellow gold and featured her birthstone, emerald, in a striking serpent design, symbolising eternal love. So you’ve made the decision to propose to your man, and you may have some ideas as to when and how, but what next? A mengagement gift When a man proposes to a woman he typically presents her with a beautiful engagement ring for her to wear forevermore. For women proposing to men, it’s a little less set in stone. While ‘mengagement’ rings do exist, the concept isn’t widely adorned just yet! Instead, proposing with a special watch or bracelet makes for a sentimental way to mark your engagement. We know the importance of a good watch and are proud to offer a spectacular range of prestige timepieces from some of the most well-known brands, such as Rolex and Omega. Our Datejust White Roman Dial Steel Oyster Rolex watch, complete with box and original papers, will make a wonderful gift to propose with. A watch, like an engagement ring, will be treasured forever and become a family heirloom passed down through generations, with a beautiful engagement story attached to it. [caption id="attachment_2402" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Gents Datejust White Roman Dial Steel Oyster - £3,950[/caption] The engagement ring From the Guardian’s article on leap year proposals, one gentleman tells his story; “My wife proposed to me over a rather nice lunch at the Oxo Tower. It wasn't a leap year. I was asked a number of times by a number of different people "is she allowed to do that?" Which given that it's the 21st Century and we're both adults seemed rather an odd thing to ask. I still had to buy a bloody ring though.” Even in this reverse proposal, many couples still tend to favour an engagement ring for the woman. So now you’ve proposed, and he’s said yes, it’s time to think about getting that all-important engagement ring for you. Now is the time to decide what your perfect engagement ring looks like. Perhaps it’s a platinum emerald-cut dazzler like Kristen Bell’s or a symbolic emerald gem show-stopper like Queen Victoria. At Browns, we have a wonderful selection of diamond engagement rings to choose from. Or, for something especially unique, you can design your dream engagement ring together with our ring builder. Our stunning 18k white gold, Bethany shoulder set solitaire ring showcases a dazzling 0.50ct round brilliant cut diamond, with a further array of bright sparkling diamonds along the shoulders. This is a breathtaking choice for you and your partner to mark your special engagement with. [caption id="attachment_2404" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bethany Diamond Solitaire Ring - £2,549[/caption] The wedding rings However you decide to gift your proposal, be it with a sentimental gift, a mengagement ring, or perhaps an engagement ring for one; the tradition for wedding rings isn't likely to change anytime soon. Whether you're planning a long engagement or, perhaps, you want to get married as soon as possible, either way, wedding rings will be next on the agenda. We are proud to offer a beautiful selection of wedding and eternity rings that’ll see you into your long and happy marriage, that started on leap day. So ladies, with the story of leap year proposals firmly in mind, will you be proposing? Don’t forget, we’re here to help, so if you need advice on your leap year gift, engagement and wedding rings, get in touch. Our friendly experts are here to help.