News & Views
Irish women get down on one knee

2016 is a Leap Year and on Leap Day, February 29, tradition dictates that women can get down on bended knee and propose marriage to their partners.

To celebrate this tradition, Tourism Northern Ireland is launching a loved-up competition to find the country’s most romantic proposal idea and help make it happen for one lucky lady and her unsuspecting partner.

The only stipulation is that the idea must be inspired by Northern Ireland including its wonderful countryside and landscapes, tourist attractions, history and people.



According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

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