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Despite Irish Tradition, Today’s Ireland Sees Few Women Proposing On Leap Day

(Amy Adams and John Lithgow in the 2010 comedy "Leap Year.")

(Amy Adams and John Lithgow in the 2010 comedy “Leap Year.”)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

The tradition of women proposing to men on Leap Day (February 29th) seems to have originated in Ireland, but it doesn’t seem to have much of a following there any more.

“In Ireland, a woman can propose to a man on the 29th of February,” says John Lithgow’s character in the rom-com movie Leap Year.  

Reporter Pat McGrath of Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 looked into this.

“And it seems that the tradition has even originated in Ireland, according to mythology. But while people are aware of it, when it comes to putting it into practice, it’s a different story altogether,” he notes, as evidenced by these young women he interviewed:

“Well, it’s just not really the romantic thing to do.”

“I wouldn’t.  I couldn’t see myself doing it, no.”

“I’d never do it, because a man should do it. I’m not going to buy a ring for him — he should buy a ring for me!”

So, even in the love of the Irish, what these women want to hear is, “Will you marry me?” in a nice baritone.

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