Wondering why every fourth year is a leap year and where that extra day comes from? One year on Earth is a full orbit around the sun, which astronomically does not add up to 365 whole days — it in fact takes 365.2422 days. Having a leap day every fourth year is meant to scoop up those extra hours and keep us on track.
It’s also Sadie Hawkins Day, when tradition has it that a gal can ask her fella to marry her. While the name Sadie Hawkins can be traced to an Al Capp cartoon in the 1930s, the practice of women being able to propose to a man only in a leap year is historically common to many cultures. It is fabled to have begun in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose. St Patrick then supposedly gave women a single day in a leap year to pop the question — the last day of the shortest month. Another theory is that the right of every woman to propose on this day goes back to the times when February 29th was not recognized by English law. It was believed that if the day had no legal status, it was acceptable to break with the tradition of a man having to be the one to propose.
In Denmark, the tradition of women proposing is tied to February 24th, not the 29th (It has something to do with Julius Caesar.) Tradition dictates that a Danish man who turns down a leap year proposal must give the woman 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, fabric for a skirt fills in for the gloves and in Scotland the fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Not all cultures have positive marital connotations with leap year — in Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky.
Obviously we live in very different times and a woman does not have to wait to either ask to be asked. But whether you are planning a proposal or a wedding (or any other formal event), I wanted to share this great idea for identifying your tables: The Annieglass Text collection makes for gorgeous table numbers — you can use numbers in signals or in pairs to mark each table or use letters to spell out names or initials that have meaning for you.