HISTORY OF THE SPRING
In Colorado we have a saying, we begin the first day of Spring in the same way we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant as both the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word is made up of two Latin root words aequus and nox meaning “equal night” referring to the fact that daylight and night time are equal in duration.
This year, the vernal equinox (Spring) occurs on March 20 at 10:28 am UTC. This means Temps Universel Coordonne, or Coordinated Universal Time if you don’t speak French, roughly equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time if you’re British, or Zulu Time if you’re a pilot. The Autumnal Equinox occurs 6 months later. Since each equinox occurs at the same time whether in the northern hemisphere as the southern hemisphere, though the seasons are reversed, it is becoming common to call the (northern) vernal equinox the March Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox the September Equinox.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Although much of the life of the patron saint of Ireland is shrouded in legend, he was probably born around the year AD 389. What we do know about him comes from his memoir, “The Confession,” which he wrote near the end of his life. It begins,
“I, Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, who was of the village of Bannavem Taberniea.”
HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH
According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month with the exception of the months March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th.
It was on March 15, 44 B.C. that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated after he had been warned by a seer that harm would befall him before the end of the Ides of March. Contrary to popular belief, including William Shakespeare, Caesar was not assassinated in the Capitol, meaning the Curia Hostilia or Senate House in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill (pictured at top).
HISTORY OF PI DAY
This holiday is often overlooked by those who do not speak Greek, or those who do not speak Geek… but for the science major, this is a special celebration. Each year, on March 14, or 3/14, or 3.14 — we have the first three digits of “Pi.” If one wanted to be precise, and why not, it would be at 15:92 o’clock, or 4:32 pm… and 65.35 seconds, or slightly after 4:33 pm. You get the idea.
The origin of this geek holiday has been traced to a celebration led by Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988 where he was a physicist. No less than the US House of Representatives boldly stepped out and passed a non-binding resolution recognizing March 14 as Pi Day in 2009.
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HISTORY OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
It seems like only yesterday that we discussed the end of Daylight Saving Time. DST is a brilliant campaign to convince people that we’re getting more daylight each day when in reality we’ve merely changed our clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks. Actually, it was only back in November, or less than five months ago.
Indeed, the new rules for DST that began in 2007 meant an extra four or five weeks of DST each year. There is now a total of 238 days of DST, compared to the total of 210 days of DST back in 2006 under the previous rules, and the U. S. remains on DST for about 65% of the year. So if you think about it, DST will be in effect for most of the year, Standard time is no longer the standard. It might be more significant to recognize Daylight Losing Time.