Leap Year 2024: What is Bachelor's Day?

Humorous vignettes depicting a tradition, known as Bachelors Day, where women propose to men on Leap Day, 29 February. From "Illustrated London News", 1860. Creator: Gilks. (Photo by The Print Collector/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

This year, February has 29 days instead of the usual 28 and that’s because 2024 is a leap year.  

There are many traditions, past and present, that are celebrated on a day that only comes once every four years. 

For Ireland, Feb. 29 is known as Bachelor’s Day by some. 

Bachelor’s Day in Ireland is the day when a woman is allowed to propose to a man. It’s kind of like Sadie Hawkins Day here in the United States.

RELATED: Leap Day history: Things that happened on Feb. 29

Bachelor’s Day history in Ireland

In 5th-century Ireland, St. Bridget of Kildare complained to St. Patrick about why women were not allowed to propose to men, according to History.com.

To remedy this, St. Patrick decided to designate one day on which a woman could ask for a man’s hand in marriage – Feb. 29. This was seen as a way to introduce balance to the traditional roles of men and women. 

Bachelor’s Day eventually made its way to Scotland and England, where they added their own twist. 

In Scotland, if a man were to reject a woman’s marriage proposal, he would need to give the woman several pairs of gloves. These gloves may have been used to hide the woman’s hands since she did not have an engagement ring, according to Irish Central’ website. 

What is a leap year?

A leap year usually occurs every four years, as calendars take into account an orbit around the Sun taking more than 365 days to complete. In fact, according to NASA, Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds (or about one-fourth of a day) to complete an orbit around the star.

Those extra hours, minutes and seconds beyond day 365 constitute the extra time that is added to a leap year.

If an extra day was not occasionally added to a year, seasons would begin to fall forward, and in several hundred years, a North American winter would happen during what is currently summer and vice versa.

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FOX Weather contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.