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In Scotland, it was required that a woman who was thinking of taking advantage of the leap year privilege must let her intentions be known by wearing a scarlet flannel petticoat. The edge of the petticoat must be clearly visible in order to give the wary male a sporting chance to get out of the way. This is obviously a man-made rule.

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Source Notes: Days and Customs of All Faiths (1957). Harper includes this comment after explaining that the origin of the "women's special privilege of doing the proposing in leap years" goes back to an exchange between St. Bridget and St. Patrick. St. Bridget noted that women too often remained single because they could not propose to men. They negotiated the time when women would be allowed to make a request, and St. Bridget immediately proposed to St. Patrick. He had taken a vow of celibacy, so he turned her down. He did, however, offer her a kiss and a silk gown to compensate.

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