History of March

HISTORY OF MARCH

MarsThe month that can come in “like a lion and out like a lamb” is named after the Roman god of war Mars. March or Martius as it was known in ancient Rome is the first month of Spring, and a favorable season for travel or to begin a military campaign. March 1 in the Northern hemisphere it marks the beginning of the meteorological Spring and was the original New Year’s Day of Rome until that was changed to December of January under different rulers. Some parts of Europe continued to use March as the beginning of the year until 15th and 16th centuries.

In the West, following the church liturgical calendar, March may be host to pre-Lent holidays like Shrove Monday, Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. If the first full moon happens on or after March 21, Good Friday and Easter may occur in March as well.

The Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day are locked into this month. Non-Irish holidays like St. Joseph’s Day occur here too. The old saying:

March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.

…could mean that it’s a good month to go fly a kite.

What do you do in March?

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
www.billpetro.com

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