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 365,242,189 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 Tradition of 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.
He/she said no? Not to worry – you get to keep all those lovely gloves. Here is a selection in the shops round Piazza di Spagna – and the best thing is, unlike spouses, you don’t have to choose just one, you can have all of them. Result!
No one to propose to? Here’s your consolation prize!
To celebrate Leap Year, ROME ALONE, ROME AGAIN, VERONA ALONE & VERONA AGAIN are FREE to download at Amazon Kindle on 29 February!
In ROME ALONE, take off for the Eternal City for a long weekend with unhappy housewife Bee and newly-divorced Alzheimer’s expert Dr Neil McCarthy, as they leave from opposite ends of the country for a mini-break full of the unexpected that will change their lives forever.
Return to Rome with them three years later in ROME AGAIN and discover the forces at work which they never suspected on their first trip.
Download ROME ALONE
Download ROME AGAIN
Catch up with the story in VERONA ALONE, when newly divorced former cellist Moira decides to fulfil a girlhood dream of visiting Verona during the summer opera season. There she is taken under the wing of a quirky and generous American who appears to have a secret, which is only discovered when she finds herself all at sea with him.
VERONA AGAIN sees three couples fight to save their relationships – who will succeed, who will fail and who will lose the love of their life?
Download VERONA ALONE
Download VERONA AGAIN
All books contain adult themes, dark humour and sexual content.
All photos copyright A. Meredith