Rewind·Posted on 28 Feb 2020It's A Leap Year – Here Are 13 Traditions You Might Not Know AboutHow will you be marking the extra day?by Emma CookeBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. 'Reverse' proposals in Britain and Ireland. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com In modern times, it's a little outdated to think women need a specific day to propose – but for those that want an extra reason, a leap year has long been the year 'women can propose to men'. Proposing, for centuries, was the gentleman's prerogative, but once every four years Leap Year tradition dictated that on the 29th of February, women looking to put a ring on it can ask their loves to marry them. Where did the tradition begin? Supposedly Ireland in the 5th century. Saint Brigid of Kildare, arguing that women were languishing away waiting for their shy beaux to pluck up the nerve to pop the question, asked Saint Patrick to give a day they might do the deed themselves. A little haggling was involved, with Saint Patrick first suggesting every seven years, but eventually the Leap Year was settled on. According to folklore, Saint Brigid then immediately proposed marriage to the Irish saint. As the Irish nun would have been around nine or ten years old when St. Patrick died in 461 A.D, this story is a little dubious, but no less charming for it. 2. Expensive refusals in Scotland... Hulton Archive / Getty Images / Via Hulton Archive / Stringer In another win for the girls, Queen Margaret of Scotland is said to have issued a law in 1288, saying any man who refuses a Leap Day proposal should be issued with a fine amounting to anything from £1 to a silk gown. Though the queen would have been only five years old at the time, so the truth of this is also a little bit murky.Another theory goes that the tradition came about when St Patrick turned down St Brigid's marriage proposal, offering her a kiss and a silk gown as a consolation prize. 3. And Denmark... View this photo on Instagram instagram.com In Denmark, the forfeit for turning down a Leap Year proposal is twelve pairs of gloves, supposedly so the spurned maiden can wear them to hide the horror of having no ring. 4. And Finland. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com In Finland, the rejecting beau must hand over enough fabric to make a skirt. Though shorter modern hemlines may make this less of a drain on their wallet. 5. Red petticoats in Scotland. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Another Scottish touch on Leap Year is that proposing women must wear a scarlet petticoat while doing so. Saucy. 6. Bad luck in Greece, Scotland and Germany. Pedro Szekely / Flickr / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: pedrosz Conversely, Greek traditions says it’s unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year – especially on the actual Leap Day (29th Feb). Marriages that occur are said to end in divorce. In Scotland, it's thought that those born on a Leap Day will live a life of 'untold suffering'. It's also a bad year for livestock, with an old farming saying of “leap year was never a good sheep year”. Over in Germany, another saying goes “Schaltjahr gleich Kaltjahr": leap year will be a cold year. 7. A four-day long festival for 'leaplings' in the United States. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com In Texas, near the New Mexico border, the town of Anthony is the self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capital of the World”. 'Leaplings' (people born on 29 February), Mary Ann Brown and Birdie Lewis, approached the town council in 1988 with the idea of creating a festival to celebrate Leap Day. The four-day-long party now sees people travelling from all over the world for the festivities. 8. St Oswald's Day in England. View this photo on Instagram Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day for those of the Christian faith. The day is named for the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. Sainted for "the zeal with which he had assisted Dunstan and Odo in revolutionising the Anglo-Saxon church", his memorial is celebrated on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during common years. 9. Whale births in Italy. George D. Lepp / Getty Images In Italy's north, specifically in Reggio Emilia, a leap year can also be referred to as “l’ann d’ la baleina”: the whale's year. Why? It's simple. They believe that whales give birth only during leap years (I'm not sure that this is taken too literally). 10. Pig trotter noodles in Taiwan. Dashu83 / Getty Images In Taiwan, parents are thought more likely to die during a leap year. To help prevent this, dutiful married daughters return home during the leap month with pig trotter noodles for her parents – a dish that will bring them good health and good fortune. If nothing else, the noodle dish is so delicious it's sure to put a bit of pep in your step. 11. Tree planting in Germany. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com In Germany's Rhineland, a longtime tradition has seen lovestruck boys placing a small, ribbon bedecked tree (a Liebesmaie) on the doorstep of their crush on 30th April – the eve of May Day. But in leap years it's the girls turn, and young women can leave their own romantic trees for their sweethearts. On May Day itself, leap years see only women dancing around the maypole, where in other years men typically join in. 12. Leap year cocktails in London. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com There's those who might find the leap year tradition a bit sexist, but there's another leap year tradition that's much easier to get behind. In 1928, famous bartender Harry Craddock, who worked at London's Savoy Hotel, invented a cocktail to celebrate the hotel’s Leap Day celebrations. Make your own to see in the day – the recipe was published in his 1930 tome, The Savoy Cocktail Book, and is made with gin, Grand Marnier, vermouth and lemon juice. 13. A newspaper in France. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Not ones to be outdone, the French have their own, unique Leap Year tradition. La Bougie du Sapeur is a satirical French newspaper that was first published in 1980, and only publishes once every four years — making it the least frequently published newspaper of all time. Despite this, the paper is sold 130,000 copies when it was last published in 2016, beating out most French dailies. The name comes from an old French comic book character who was born on leap day.