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Leap Year Day – February 29th

By Barbara Ardinger

In November, 1937, cartoonist Al Capp introduced a new folk holiday: Sadie Hawkins Day. Every year, Capp’s comic strip, L’il Abner, showed Sadie, “the homeliest gal in the hills,” and her gal friends totin’ their shotguns and chasin’ hillbilly men through the woods with matrimony in mind.

Sadie Hawkins Day was not an entirely new idea. It’s said that the tradition of women proposing to men originated in fifth –century Ireland, when St. Patrick informed St. Brigid that desperate women could pop the question on leap year day. In 1288, it’s also said, a law was passed in Scotland to allow women to propose to men on February 29th; any man who declined had to pay a fine, which could be a kiss, a pair of gloves, or a silk dress.

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