Ladies Privilege Day

Ladies Privilege Day

by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                            Ireland                                                29.02.2024

One of the things about being born and brought up in Northern Ireland is that you straddle two cultures – Irish and British. You may even end up knowing a bit about both but not enough about either!

This was brought home to me recently when I learnt about an old Irish tradition about this day, 29th February in a Leap Year. Everyone around me seemed to know about it. Apparently, women can propose marriage to a man and not wait to be asked. I sniff at this tradition, sensing the patriarchy behind it, but I suppose I have to see it in its historical perspective. Legend has it that Saint Bridget once asked Saint Patrick that women be given the opportunity to propose, since men were too slow to do so. Saint Patrick first suggested that women be allowed to propose on one day every seven years. He later settled on every four years thanks to Bridget’s haggling and convincing!

Apparently in Scotland if the man says “no” he has to pay a fine! It can be anything from £1 to a fine silk petticoat!

Anyway, today is Ladies Privilege Day and I have no intention of proposing marriage to anyone today I am musing about how I want to celebrate the day.

do celebrate that the days are getting longer and that there are clear signs that winter has gone. I celebrate the bird song in our garden and yes, even the seagulls, back making nests on the roof of our house so that they can hatch their eggs in peace. (A noisy squabble for me!) .
Today I want to “do my own thing”, with a period of quiet time, a good book, and a chatty teatime with my Sisters!   Who knows, I may even take the initiative and call up one of my male friends on this day – after all, it is my privilege!