Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ladies, Let's Take a Leap!

from SadWonderland
Look out, Boys!  Ladies all over the world may be leaping ...
... for YOU!

As soon as 2012 began, my mother was already talking about how this is a leap year.
"Oh, Angel, this is our year.  Have you made special Valentine's plans for your hubby yet?  It is leap year, you know." 
"No. I had no idea that it was leap year.  And, I had no idea that I was to do anything out of the norm."  "It is Sadie Hawkins!  You have to make the plans for your Valentine this yea-ear-ear." 
"Well, yes.  I usually do make the plans for my Valentine.  I am the planner here." 

So, no worries.  In this Angellic house, not much has changed for this Leap Year.  BUT....

if you live in Ireland....  WATCH OUT BOYS!

Long ago, and even into my mother's generation, ladies would NEVER be caught asking a gentleman for a date.  And, even more so, they would certainly NEVER EVER be caught proposing marriage. Much has changed for women.  In today's world, women can casually invite men for coffee.  They may ask them to dinner.  And, although many still prefer not to, women may propose marriage.  But, this is the age of the modern woman.  A time in history where women may choose to work or stay home.  Wives may choose to supplement their husbands wages or they may choose to be the primary family income.  And they may earn enough to do that comfortably.
This is the modern way of women.  However, in history, this was not the way.  In the days of dear St Patrick, a lady whose man could not find it in himself to propose marriage, well... that lady was... well... just stuck, waiting.  She had no means by which to suggest otherwise.  It was not virtuous.  And for the ladies of Ireland, this plight was so troublesome that a woman by the name of St Bridget complained.  She complained to St Patrick and so, although it was not recognized by the courts, on February 29th, a woman could ask for a man's hand in marriage. 

Can you imagine the pressure that St. Bridget must have on on poor St. Patrick?  Legend says that it was declared, that every four years on that one special day, a woman could ask for her man's hand in marriage.  And, if the man were to refuse, then he would pay a fine!  A man's refusal to accept a marriage proposal on February 29th meant that he must buy her a pair of gloves, silken dress or some other... well... other token of apology.  ( and

In the United States, Leap Day became known as Sadie Hawkins.  It was a day when the ladies could invite the men.  But, did you know that Sadie Hawkins was actually a fictitious holidy some time in November? 

Sadie Hawkins, is a fictious character in Al Capp's 1930's "Lil Abner" cartoon.   Sadie was quite the spinster and not able to get a date.  So, her powerful father arranged a day for a race, a race to marriage.  One day, each November, the men would start running and the one that Sadie caught had to marry her.  Many sequences evolved around this fictitious holiday and many men were caught by many women and pulled across the finish line to marriage. (
Throughout US culture, though, things changed.  Women became bold and empowered.  And, as the culture evolved, so did traditions.  Leap Day, slowly became Sadie Hawkins day.  Many social events were held where the women would invite the men and the two would arrive in matching hillbilly attire.  Men could not refuse the invitation and ladies were given control.

Many Leap Years have passed since I thought about the traditions of Sadie Hawkins and St Bridget.  But, today is Leap Day 2012.  Perhaps, this year, we do things a little different at our house.  Maybe we will do something a little less romantic and a little more .... Sadie!

Happy Leap Day, Ya'll!

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