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    Updated on Feb 28, 2020. Posted on Feb 28, 2020

    It's A Leap Year – Here Are 13 Traditions You Might Not Know About

    How will you be marking the extra day?

    1. 'Reverse' proposals in Britain and Ireland.

    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...

    4. And Finland.

    5. Red petticoats in Scotland.

    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.

    8. St Oswald's Day in England.

    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.

    12. Leap year cocktails in London.

    13. A newspaper in France.

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