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March 2008

Welcome, O March!
Whose kindly days and dry
Make April ready for the throstle’s song
— William Morris, Earthly Paradise

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


St David's Day, Matronalia, Roman New Year, The Sharp Days, Baba Marta's Day


St Chad, Hime-no-Miya, Mothering Sunday


St Winnold, Hina Matsuri /Doll Festival


St Casimir


Isidis Navigatum



Espousals of Our Lady, New Moon in Pisces, First Friday in March


Forty Saints Eve, Strinennia, International Women's Day


Forty Martyrs Day, Carling Sunday, Dragon Raises Head, Daylight Saving Time begins, Palm Sunday/Fig Sunday/Flowering Sunday




St Gregory, Red Wednesday or Chahar Shanbeh Suri




Mamuralia, White Dayi


Tagata Honen-Sai, Ides of March, City Dionysia


St Urho


St Patrick, Liberalia, Gaia


Sheela’s Day


St Joseph, Quinquatrus, Spring Equinox, Nawruz, Sun enters Aries, Babylonian New Year


Maundy Thursday / Green Thursday, Fast of Esther


Spring Eve, Full Moon, Purim, Good Friday


Attis, Soul Saturday/Holy Saturday/White Saturday/Judas Day, Chronus


Tubilustrum, Day of Blood, Easter Sunday


Hilaria, St Gabriel, Easter Lifting, Ducking Monday, Dyngus Day/Smigus Day, Feast of the Blajini


Lady Day, Schwalbentag, Day of Swallows, Carling Sunday


Birthday of Kwan Yin



Bright Friday/Mary, the Life-Giving Fountain


The Borrowed Days begins


Low Sunday


Worship of the Moon, Hares and Rabbits, Hocktide/Binding Monday

March is the Month of New Life.

March was the first month of the Roman year until the adoption of the Julian calendar in 46 BCE. For many centuries, the date of the year was not changed until March. Great Britain and the Colonies began the new year on March 25th (Lady Day) until 1752. In other words, Mar 23 1750 was the day before Mar 24 1751. This preserved the old belief that the year began on Spring Equinox.

March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war, because this was the month when campaigning began. However Mars was once the god of agriculture. Frazer of the Golden Bough writes: “It was to Mars that the Roman husbandman prayed for the prosperity of his grain and vines, his fruit trees and his copses.”

In Gaelic, Earrach Geamraidh, the winter spring
In Anglo-Saxon, Herthamonath, the month of the goddess Hertha (or Rheda)
The Saxons called it Lencten-monath, the month of longer days (from whence comes the word Lent)
Early Britons also called March Hyldmonath, which meant a loud and stormy month. This name for the month survived as Lide and was still used in 19th century Cornwall in the proverb: “Ducks wan’t lay till they’ve drink’d lide water.”

In Ireland, March is sometimes called mi na (bo) riaibhche, the month of the brindled cow. This names comes with a story that the brindled cow complained at the dawn of April about the harshness of March whereupon March borrowed a few days from April and these were so wet and stormy the cow drowned.

March is noted for its winds, as in the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Farmers welcomed the winds as they dried out the soggy fields, permitting planting to begin. Shelley personified the winds in this line from Dirge for the Year, “March with grief doth howl and rave.” Perhaps this saying from Herbert also refers to the winds of March: “February makes a bridge and March breaks it.” And I didn’t realize before that March winds are as essential as April showers. Apparently the full rhyme goes: “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.”

According to Martha Stewart in the March 1999 issue of Living, wind is one of the most useful weather predictors. In most areas of the country, south and east winds bring precipitation while north or west winds bring fair weather.

March damp and warm
Doth the farmer much harm
But a March without water
Dowers the farmer’s daughter

Goddesses of March: Juno Lucina, Isis, Anna Perenna, Cybele, Virgin Mary, Eostre, Kore, Astarte, Aphrodite, Izanami, Baba Marta

Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

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