March comes and goes – like a lion or a lamb – bringing spring to the north and winter to the south poles of our planet. Like any youngster, March can’t settle on its disposition. One day it’s soft, warm and lovely–the next it’s cold, wild and foul. Either way, ya gotta love March because it brings such amazing diversity.
Some years Easter comes in March. A few times my birthday and Easter have fallen on the same day in March.
In 2020, the spring equinox (also called the March equinox or vernal equinox) falls on Thursday, March 19, which is earlier than it’s been in over a century! This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. For much of the last century, the spring equinox has occurred on March 20 or 21. This year, however, the equinox happens on the 19th in all U.S. time zones, making it the earliest spring we’ll have seen in our lives (so far). The last time spring arrived this early was in 1896—a whopping 124 years ago! March is filled with surprises.
The Ides of March
The Ides of March = a day in the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. The ides marks the halfway point of the month—most likely alluding to the day of the full moon, although historically the ides also corresponded to when bills became payable. Of course, such an infamous day would fall on payday. In the ancient Roman world it was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.
The ides of March have become a part of the historical collective consciousness because of history and literature.
They were, at one point, a celebratory day dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars, complete with a military parade. So, when did an otherwise humdrum day of the year turn into the superstitious harbinger of ill omen we know it as today?
On this foreboding day in 44 BC, the Roman Senate conspired to kill Julius Caesar, who was at the time seen to be consolidating power to make himself emperor. After ignoring numerous warnings–including those of a seer, who cautioned him to “beware the Ides of March”–Caesar was lured into an ambush set by members of the Roman Senate, who proceeded to stab the dictator 23 times before he died.
Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, written around 1599, immortalized this dark moment and gave us the classic line of dismayed betrayal, “Et tu, Brute?”
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day observes of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking and a whole lot of green.
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilís, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption
Happy Birthday Irish
So…grace and peace on you this month Dear Hearts. And whatever March brings, remember
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,[a]Lamentations 3:22-24 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”