It’s Leap Year, in case you hadn’t noticed and that means that Sadie Hawkins day is coming around. Have you heard of it?
It’s the day that the women get to take things into their own hands and grab the man of their choice – if they can catch him.
It began – well, it probably all began in the dark reaches of history – but for our intents and purposes, it began on November 15, 1937 when American cartoonist Al Capp began to write a story arc in his comic strip, Lil Abner, about Sadie Hawkins, the daughter of Hekzabiah Hawkins, Dogpatch resident.
Sadie, reputedly “the homeliest gal in all them hills,” was growing increasingly panicky about her chances of matrimony as the years went on. And finally, when Sadie reached 35 with nary a suitor in sight, her father (also frantic at the thought of being stuck with her for the rest of his – or her – days) took matters into his own hands.
He declared it Sadie Hawkins Day, and decreed that there would be a foot race: the holler’s bachelors would run and Sadie would take off after them. And whoever she caught would find himself at the altar with Sadie as his bride.
He took out his gun and said, “"When ah fires, all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—after givin' yo' a fair start—Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husband."
And you’d better believe that all the other unattached women in the vicinity took note. They thought it was a fine idea and declared that there would be a “Sadie Hawkins Day” every year.
Because he got so much fan mail in favor of the idea, Capp did a variation on his Sadie Hawkins Day story every November for the next 40 or so years.
Sadie Hawkins Day got translated into once every four years when it became associated with old folk customs which claimed that on leap years women were allowed to take the initiative and propose. Combining the two seemed perfectly reasonable.
And celebrating it seems like something romance readers and writers ought to do.
In honor of Sadie – and to celebrate our 5th annual Here Come The Grooms! Contest, Kate Walker, Anne McAllister and I -- and our respective heroes (who are currently on the run with some determined heroines after them) -- are opening this year’s contest on Valentine’s Day this year and ending it on February 29th – Sadie’s day.
So please drop by each of our websites during those two weeks and answer all three of our heroes’ questions, then send all three of us those answers and three lucky winners will each get a copy of all three featured books.
Come and join in the fun!