Legend has it that back in 5th century Ireland, St. Bridget begged St. Patrick to give women the chance to propose marriage to the man of their choice. She believed it was taking longer and longer for men to propose marriage and thus felt it unfair to force women to wait so long. After listening to her plea, St. Patrick decided that women would have that chance, but once every four years on Leap Day.
There are many traditions associated with Leap Day. First off, it was believed that a woman could only propose marriage on Leap Day while wearing a red petticoat. It was believed that the colour red was a symbol of love, warmth, passion and fertility (qualities every guy wanted to make sure his soon-to-be-wife possessed). Second, it was believed that if a man said “no” he would have to buy the woman who proposed a silk dress and pair of silk gloves (so she could cover up the embarrassment of being without an engagement ring).
While most of those traditions are no longer practiced (and barely remembered) the act of a woman proposing to the man of her choice is one idea that’s been carried through the ages. We talked to a few Canadian ladies who took it upon themselves to pop the question. Here are three stories of women who thought, like St. Bridget, it was time to turn the tables on their men.