March is a month of contrasts. If you live in the northern hemisphere your weather will have more than its share of stormy days. But, quite often, you will also have some early signs of spring when tiny blossoms peek up through the remains of snows and when robins return to build their nests. It’s a hopeful month when we think of new beginnings and fresh starts.
In some years Easter is celebrated in late March as is the Jewish festival of Purim. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ from the dead while Purim celebrates the rescue of the Jewish people from a plot created by Haman as written in the book of Esther. You may be familiar with the 15th day of March being called the Ides of March. That stems from the assassination of Julius Caesar on that day. Interestingly enough the term Ides was a term used to denote the 15th day in some months and the 13th in others along with Kalends which meant the first day and Nones which was either the 7th or the 5th. All other days were counted from those markers in the early Roman calendars. Also in Roman times March was the first month of the year. It was a time for new beginnings and often the time in which wars were waged.
Nowruz is a celebration held by the Persian Empire celebrating their New Year and Hanami in Japan is the end of the fiscal and the school year. It is also the time in Japan when the people celebrate the enjoyment of all the lovely flowers that come in bloom. White Day in Asia is celebrated on March 14th. On that day men who received gifts from their sweethearts one month earlier on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor in the form of gifts of chocolate, cakes, or jewelry.
Today March is Women’s History Month internationally and in the U.S. you’ll hear lots of excitement about March Madness which is the annual contest between college basketball teams. Before the Christian celebration of Lent and Easter comes Mardi Gras, that French celebration of feasting and partying before the stricter Lenten diet begins. Mardi Gras is celebrated in different forms in many Christian nations around the world.
Here are some of the special days to be found in March
1st Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
5th Multiple Personality Day
6th Michelangelo’s birthday
7th Alexander Graham Bell’s birthday in 1876
8th International Women’s Day
14th White Day
14th Johann Strauss’s birthday in 1804
15th The Ides of March when Julius Caesar died
17th St. Patrick’s Day
19th, 20th or 21st First day of spring
19th Missionary and explorer David Livingstone’s birthday 1813
20th Henrik Ibsen’s birthday in 1828
25th Waffle Day
25th Arturo Toscanini’s birthday in 1867
In the spirit of Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll leave you with the Irish prayer of blessing written by an unknown author:
“May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again may God
Hold you in the hollow of his hand.”