There are some great folklore stories and traditions associated with Leap Year.
According to an old Irish legend St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years.
St Brigid was clearly ahead of her time in wanting to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.
There are various penalties if a man refuses a marriage proposal. Our favourite is that he has to buy the lady 12 pairs of gloves, (the intention here being that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring). We think that is just a highly practical gift to have for a canal boat trip.
This lead us to thinking that we here at Black Prince Holidays should invent some narrow boating folklore to accompany the traditions of leap year.
What do you think of the following for Waterways Leap Year traditions?
- In Leap Year tradition the woman takes control of the narrow boat tiller for the entire day. It is her responsibility to choose the direction in which the couple is headed.
- The Leap Year folklore now dictates that the woman should be served tea / coffee / red wine on demand throughout the day, without having to wash up any of the cups.
- When a woman’s gloves fall in the canal due to any unfortunate incident of tree-sweeping** the man must give up his gloves for the lady to wear.
- The woman has the right to request help from any passer by on any aspect of map reading, directions or water tap points.
- The man cannot refuse the woman’s request carry her home after too long a session at a canal side pub.
What traditions would you create for a Waterways Leap Year?
**Tree sweeping is when the canal boat is steered too close to the side of the canal where low hanging tree branches sweep all loose objects off the roof and into the water. This is generally accompanied with much shouting from the canal boat occupants and much mirth from passers by on the towpath.