It's Leap Day But Let's Ignore That 'Proposal' Tradition, Shall We?

Women are 'allowed' to propose today. Er, thanks tradition

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Today is 29 February.

Yes, that’s right – it’s Leap Day. Every four years, we’re granted the gift of an extra 24-hours.

(A bit of background: Leap Day is added to the Gregorian calendar so that it aligns with the sun, which takes 365 days and six hours, thus accumulating an extra 24 hours every four years. And breathe.)

Truth be told, it snuck up on us (and even more honestly, it’s not the kind of thing we circle in our diaries).

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We nearly completely forgot about it the madness of planning the ELLE Style Awards 2016, praying to the gods that Leo would finally win that Oscar (he did it!) and, oh yes, attending Milan/Paris/New York and London Fashion Weeks.

In fact, it was only after pondering what it’d be like to have an official birthday once every four years – Modern Family addicts will remember that Cam was technically just 10-years-old when celebrating his 40th – that we remembered another point about 29 February.

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Out of the 365 days in the year, today is the only day women are ‘allowed’ – nay, encouraged – to propose to their boyfriends.

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Why? Because according to old Irish legend, St Brigid of Kildare struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men on this day in an attempt to balance out the traditional gender roles.

We like St Brigid’s style – feminism at its earliest – but come on, it’s 2016 now. Women can propose whenever they want, they don't need to be told to do it on a specific day. Are we really still taking notice of this outdated, supremely corny tradition?

The answer is yes, people are still taking notice of the 'rules' surrounding Leap Day.

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Today, websites have been flooded with headlines like ‘9 Unusual Ways For Women To Propose’. According to eHarmony, one in 30 women will pop the question today. And then let’s not forget that teeth-grindingly cringe-worthy 2010 film, Leap Year, starring Amy Adams, where her character chases a man across Ireland just so that she can ask him for his hand. The less said about that, the better.

I’m unequivocally 100% for women proposing, just on all days of the year. I detest the idea that we’re ‘allowed’ to do it on a single day out of the 365 available.   

Instead of adhering to these gender-role stereotypes and worrying about what everyone else is doing with their Leap Day, let’s all use the extra 24 hours to do something we wouldn’t normally, just for ourselves (and take your pick of the other 364 days to propose to your betrothed).  

Join a Girl Crew (billed as the new way to make friends). Take up boxing à la ELLE’s Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Candy. Or test yourself by wearing no make-up as part of a 30-day challenge like our Managing Editor Debbie Morgan did.

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And remember, if you are in a relationship and thinking about getting married: you can propose whenever you want. Or don't. It's totally up to you.

Whatever you do with this extra day, ignore ‘tradition’ and make it count for you.

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