Leap Year Romance: Embrace Tradition and Seize the Moment

Leap into another edition of Crazy Book Genres and explore the magic of Leap Year Romance.

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Bookstr is back with another Crazy Book Genre! If you’ve been following our series, you know that we shine a light on romance genres that need some appreciation. We’re here to introduce you to Leap Year romance! Romance is all about timing, and leap-year romances can only happen every 4 years. Most people think that a leap year only adds an extra day in February, but it can be even more romantic than Valentine’s Day.

Leap Year Tradition

green cover with a man holding a guitar linking arms with a woman holding a ring while a dog sits behind them

We know that leap year was designed to keep the calendar on track, but let’s push aside the technical details and focus on the romance. Leap Year romance began in Ireland when Saint Bridget demanded that women have the right to propose because men often moved too slow. Saint Patrick denied her request but created a day for “Ladies’ Privilege”. He declared that every 7 years women would get the chance to propose. Bridget bartered with him, and it was decided that women would have the right to propose once every 4 years.

Why Is One Day So Romantic?

Book cover with a brunette woman in light purple long sleeved dress leaning against a doorway looking down

Leap Day is about seizing the moment and embracing an old Irish tradition. Gender roles are reversed, and women generate romance that ends in a charming proposal. Women are often drawn to this romantic day because it represents what we strive to achieve in everyday life. Women enjoy being wooed but they also want control over their own love story. Many couples discuss marriage before any proposals take place, so it makes sense that a woman may be the one to step up and ask the words.

Popularity in Fiction

Red haired woman in green dress holding a ring with a brunette man standing behind her in a grey sweater

Many authors embrace the leap year tradition as a plot device because of the allure of a holiday that does not occur annually. The rarity of leap days makes them all the more special. The popular film Leap Year is responsible for shining a spotlight on the tradition and bringing it into fiction. Although Leap Year proposals still have a ways to go in terms of mainstream popularity, we can only hope that more authors will pick up on the trend and bring it to the forefront of pop culture.

Leap Year Tropes

Bluish green book cover covered in calendar pages with a small silhouette of a man and a woman facing each other

Leap Day proposals are only a piece of this genre’s puzzle. Authors play on a few other tropes to bring out the fun and attractive part of this holiday. Anna Bell takes on leap year birthdays in her novel Once Upon A Leap Year. She focuses on leaplings whose birthday only happens every 4 years. Bell utilizes the rarity of leap year babies to make her story unique.

Another common trope associated with leap years are sudden marriages. Although most of us prefer a proposal to come from a long-time partner, leap days are the perfect setup for sudden marriages. Anne Marie Walker highlights quickie marriages in her novel, Lucky Leap Day. Walker embraces the beauty of Ireland and combines it with Irish tradition to create a whirlwind romance that leads to a young woman proposing to a stranger.

Seize the day and check out a leap year romance sure to give you all the feels more than once every four years!

If you enjoyed learning about Leap Year romance, click here and here for more crazy book genres.

Don’t forget to check out our contemporary romance bookshelf on bookshop.org!