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The Extra Day

Vintage postcard

Frog Legs Day (Leap Year - Feb 29)

Feb 29

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year."
~ Traditional

Mind the date, today! It's Leap Day! The old Scottish saying suggests that a leap year is not an auspicious time for farmers and their livestock. Hmmm ... Let us take heart that it still will be a good year for dancing. And if you are the rare "leaper" or "leapling", someone born on leap day, congratulations, you are definitely the youngest of your peers! Leap year celebrations in the UK and Scotland often reverse customary traditions! One of the most notable customs is that of women proposing marriage to men on the leap day. This role reversal for the time was considered legally binding in Scotland after Queen Margaret allegedly passed a law in 1288 allowing women to propose on February 29th, and if the man declined, he was expected to pay a fine ranging from a kiss to a silk dress! This 40 bar jig was written to provide an extra day for dancers to dance to The Wee Cooper of Fife tune with easier phrasing than the namesake dance! Happy Leap Year Birthdays! 🐸 🎂

The Extra Day

Leap year traditions vary widely across countries, often blending historical customs, folklore, and contemporary practices. Here are some notable traditions from various European countries:

  1. Ireland: Perhaps one of the most famous leap year traditions is from Ireland, where Leap Day, February 29, is traditionally seen as the day when women propose marriage to men. This custom is said to date back to the 5th century, with the legend of St. Brigid striking a deal with St. Patrick to allow women this opportunity every four years, aiming to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way that leap day balances the calendar.

  2. Scotland: In Scotland, leap years are also associated with traditions related to marriage. It's said that Queen Margaret enacted a law in 1288 allowing women to propose to men during leap years, and men who refused would have to pay a fine, ranging from a kiss to a silk dress or gloves.

  3. Greece: In contrast to the Irish and Scottish customs that encourage marriages, it's considered unlucky to marry during a leap year in Greece. Many couples avoid planning their wedding in a leap year, particularly on leap day itself, due to the belief that it brings bad luck.

  4. Finland: Similar to the Irish tradition, Finland has a custom where women are encouraged to propose marriage to men on leap day. If the proposal is refused, the man should provide the woman with fabric for a skirt as compensation.

  5. Italy: Leap years are often referred to as "L'anno bisestile" in Italy, and there are various superstitions around leap years being years of risk and change. While not specific to leap day, these superstitions influence how people approach significant life events during leap years.

  6. France: France doesn't have a widespread leap year tradition like Ireland or Scotland, but it does have a humorous newspaper, "La Bougie du Sapeur," which is published only once every leap year on February 29. This tradition, started in 1980, plays on the rarity of leap day as a time for satire and humor.

For more on other interesting Leap Year traditions, click the vintage postcard.

The Extra Day

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Extra Day

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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