March, the third month of the year, was named for the Roman god of war, Mars. Traditionally, this was the time of year to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter. In the early Roman calendar, March (or Martius) was the first month of the calendar year. As March brought the first day of spring with the vernal equinox, it was the start of new beginnings. March became the third month of the year when January and February, which were added to the end of the Roman calendar around 700 BCE, instead became the first and second months around 450 BCE. Here are some additional fun facts about the month of March as stated in the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” – courtesy of Patsy Zima:
- March’s Full Worm Moon reaches peak illumination on Sunday, March 28 at 2:50 PM EDT.
- You may have heard the proverb, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb,” which means that if the month starts off stormy, it will end with mild weather. There is, however, a different interpretation – The constellation Leo, the Lion, rises in the east at the beginning of March and thus the month “comes in like a lion,” while Aries, the ram, sets in the west at the end of the month, hence, the month “will go out like a lamb.”
- The March equinox occurs on Saturday, March 20, 2021. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is known as the vernal, or spring, equinox and marks the start of the spring season. In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn begins. At this time, the sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north. Also on this day, the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west – a good thing to know if you are lost in the woods.
- Easter is what’s known as a “moveable feast,” a religious holiday that may fall on a different calendar date from year to year because the date of Easter is tied to the full moon and the March equinox, also known as the spring or vernal equinox. Easter, therefore, is observed on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon that occurs on or after the March Equinox. For example, if the equinox were to occur on March 21 and the full moon were to occur two days later, on March 23, then Easter would be observed on the first Sunday after March 23.
- This year, however, calculating Easter is a bit more complicated. The March equinox occurs on Saturday, March 20, and the first full moon to occur after that date is March’s full worm moon on Sunday, March 29, making March’s full moon the Paschal Full Moon (a name that stems from the Greek and Latin word for Passover) as well. So, Easter will be observed on the first Sunday after March 28 which is Sunday, April 4!
- This year, Daylight Savings Time will begin at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 14 so be sure to turn your clocks forward to “spring ahead” one hour before going to bed Saturday evening.
- March 17 is traditionally St. Patrick’s Day and, according to folklore, people wear a shamrock on St. Patty’s Day because the saint was said to use a shamrock’s three leaves (yes, three and not four) to explain and teach the Trinity. March 17 was chosen as a day of celebration as it is believed to be the date of St. Patrick’s death in the late 15th century.