Leap Day

Leap Day is coming up!  Legend has it that St. Bridget struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow for a little role reversal on leap day.  She bargained that women be allowed to propose to men instead of the other way around (but only on leap day!).  Leap Day balances the calendar, and St. Bridget wanted to use the day to balance something else – the roles between men and women.

During the middle ages there were even laws about it.  If a man refused a woman’s proposal on Leap Day the man had to pay a penalty!    Often money or a gown was given to appease the woman, but another traditional gift they gave was my favorite – 12 pairs of gloves.  That way the woman could wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring on her finger.

Make a little craft to go along with the tradition:

First, trace your hand on a piece of paper.  I used a manilla folder.

Next, draw in the details of your hand.  {I used to trace my hands and then doodle jewelry, fingerprints, and nails on to the traced hands when I got bored in church.  Now it’s a school assignment!} I put my wedding ring on one as we told the story.

Now you’ve got to make a glove for your hand.  Put it on a stack of 2 sheets of colorful paper (or the kids can color their own designs), and trace around the hand, leaving a little margin so you’ll have room to sew it later.

Cut out both sheets at the same time so your two sides are identical.  Use a mini hole punch and poke holes all the way around the outside of the glove (except along the bottom edge where the hand will go in.)

Now string a long piece of yarn over and under through the holes.  I tied a really tiny, tight knot in the end of the yarn to keep it from unraveling.

Before you get to the end, insert your hand.  Then finish the threading and tie it off at the back.  Now she’s ready to hold her ring – NOT on her finger.  So sad.

Additional Layers:

  • Tell your kids the story of your courtship and engagement.  How did Daddy propose?  Or was it Mommy?  Have traditional roles changed?
  • Some leap day math: Leap Day happens once every four years to keep our calendar on track.  It actually takes the earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun to be exact.  Also, leap years happen in years that are divisible by four.  There’s also a rule that says no years that are divisible by 100 can be leap years unless it is divisible by 400.  So 1900 was NOT a leap year, but 2000 was.
  • It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out the the calendar and the sun did not always match up.  What else did the ancient Egyptians do?
  • The odds of being born on a leap day are 1 in 1461.  In Scotland they believe it’s unlucky to be born on Leap Day.
  • Make some frog crafts or play leap frog to celebrate!  Here are a few we’re planning on from my pinterest boards:


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