Annette Hope and Lars Thulin married this Wednesday, on a leap year, four years after Ms Hope first proposed on another leap year.
Annette Hope and Lars Thulin married this Wednesday, on a leap year, four years after Ms Hope first proposed on another leap year. Mairi Manley

Lovers leap into marriage

THERE'S an old wives' tale that says a woman can propose to a man on February 29 and he can't refuse.

Cabarita Beach musician and popular entity Annette Hope decided she would use the tradition to make an honest man out of her equally popular partner Lars Thulin.

"We've been together for a few years," she told My Daily News.

"I think the time has come to tie the knot."

That's exactly what the couple did on Wednesday when they "got hitched" on the deck at Cabarita Beach.

Ms Hope proposed to Mr Thulin four years ago on February 29.

"She caught me unawares," he said.

"I was hanging upside down on scaffolding on a work site in Melbourne when I got a call on my mobile.

"Of course I said 'yes'."

In a leap year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage.

In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn't look down on such women. However, that hasn't always been the case.

When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29.

It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St Bridget complained to St Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose.

According to legend, St Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

According to English law, February 29 was ignored and had no legal status. Folks assumed that traditions would also have no status on that day. It was also reasoned that since the leap year day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage.

The first documentation of this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland supposedly passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year.

Tradition states they also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine. The fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.

No fine for Mr Thulin.

Just a great big smile as he tied the knot with the love of his life.

I never thought I'd marry again said second-time bride, Ms Hope.

"But he's such a lovely man.

"I wasn't going to let him slip through my fingers.

"I really love him."

"And I really love her," Mr Thulin said.

It gives a whole new meaning to "lovers' leap."



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