This year it’s a Leap Year – meaning women get to propose to men. These days that might appear a little old fashioned – but the good news is, traditionally, if the man refuses a proposal, he has to buy 12 pairs of leather gloves for his spurned admirer, so insist the heartless bounder sends you to Rome for the weekend to choose them!
Leap year – also known as an intercalary or bissextile year – originated with Julius Caesar, when he was fiddling about with the Gregorian calendar. An extra day was added every four years to make sure the calendar worked with the earth’s revolutions round the sun – it takes the earth 365.242189 days to make its way round the sun, so every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar; otherwise, after 100 years, the calendar would be 24 days short.
In Italy, Leap Year is called anno bisestile – and it is considered unlucky to get married or undertake anything of importance in a leap year.
The tradition of women proposing to men on Leap Year’s Day (29 February) is thought to have been the result of an agreement between St Brigid and St Patrick, to coerce men into marriage more quickly. The leather gloves for unsuccessful spinsters are said to have been introduced so that women could hide their ring fingers and the “shame” of not getting their man.
Possibly a lucky escape – and you get to keep all those lovely gloves.
To celebrate Leap Year, ROME ALONE will be free to download at Kindle on 29 February*.
Set off to Rome with housewife Bee and Alzheimer’s researcher Dr Neil McCarthy – who are both fleeing marital discord. What the Eternal City has in store for them will change their lives forever…
Adult content, contains scenes of amore.
*Note: the timing of the free ROME ALONE download will depend on where you live and the earth’s rotations.
He/she said no? Commiserations, it is their loss. But there is always a trip to Rome to purchase your gloves: here is a selection in the lovely shops at Piazza di Spagna – and the best thing is, you don’t have to choose, you can have all of them. Result!