2016 is a leap year, meaning that we get an extra day at the end of this month and with it, a peculiar tradition that sees women proposing to men.
While the Gregorian calendar gains a day, the Hebrew calendar adds a full leap month, meaning that the Jewish leap year has 13 months and occurs seven times in a 19-year cycle. There are 29 or 30 days in each month in a Jewish leap year, which has 383, 384, or 385 days.The Hebrew calendar is plotted differently to other calendars, so to keep holidays consistent with traditional seasons, leap months are needed every three years. This extra month – Adar I – is added after the month of Shevat and before the month of Adar in a leap year.
If, however, you are a woman who is sticking to the Gregorian calendar and thinking of following the leap year tradition proposing to your partner, there are some things to consider.
Firstly, this extra day leaves no excuse for you not to get down on one knee and pop the question; it may be an old tradition, but in circumstances like these, it can’t be faulted. A law passed in 13th century Scotland states that any man who rejects a marriage proposal on 29th February has to pay a fine. So don’t worry about making the big step to get down on bended knee; this law has never been repealed and any man who breaks it has to buy a silk dress or a pair of gloves (to hide the shame of not wearing an engagement ring) for his wannabe-fiancée.
So if you feel the time is right, here is how you can best use that extra day to propose:
Keep it Light Hearted
Getting married is an expensive business. A marriage rejection in modern times is far more likely due to the strain a wedding will put on the finances of both you and your beau, not because of a lack of mutual affection. This is why it is best to keep the proposal light hearted. To propose on leap year is a quirky tradition, so why not play into that? There are no default marriage proposal traditions when the genders are reversed, so you have the opportunity to create something tailor-made to your relationship.
Every couple has personal jokes, which are inexplicable to everybody but them. If these can be incorporated into the proposal, it can also be read as an extension of the joke, something that covers up any awkwardness if the answer is in the negative. If the answer is in the positive, it helps show you two have perfectly compatible senses of humour and that you’ll keep laughing for years to come.
Be Cash Conscious, not Fun Conscious
Don’t waste money on engagement rings before popping the question. After all, without wanting to play in to gender stereotypes, chances are your partner won’t have an interest in fancy jewellery and will likely prefer to take you shopping to pick you the perfect ring – men are just like that.
Make Fun of Tradition
As the Scottish law stated earlier says, men have to pay a fine for rejecting a proposal. But as this is a day of reversals, why not get him to pay the fine before he has any chance of committing the crime? This doesn’t mean forcing him to buy you gloves and a dress – you are above being materialistic after all. However, you can spend the day doing all manner of bonkers leap day traditions. Just make sure you don’t get married as well as engaged, as couples married on that day are infamously cursed according to Greek tradition!
Or, Just Plan a Romantic Evening!
Or you could operate under the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ method and just plan a traditional proposal. Book a romantic getaway and enjoy a candlelit dinner, somewhere quiet and away from the wider world where you can spend time together, just the two of you. A quirky proposal may be fun, but sometimes old-fashioned romance is needed, especially at such a pivotal moment in the relationship.
Interestingly, there are different Jewish traditions, depending on which branch of Judaism you belong to, that are associated with an engagement. So, once your beloved has agreed, take a look at what comes next…