Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Month of March

 "March is a month of considerable frustration - it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our  yards seems light years away."
-   Thalassa Cruso

March, our third month, is the warrior month; it has a character all of its own. The word, March,  comes from the Roman month, Martius, which honors Mars, the god of war.  It is interesting to note that until the adoption of the Julian Calendar in 46 BC, Martius was  the first month of the year.  Actually, this was a  logical choice due to it coming after the 'dead' of the year, in which symptoms of growth take place.  Winter is slowly and unwillingly drawing off its  vanquished forces as premonitions of the awakening of Spring become more pronounced.

Spring in the Northern half of the world begins with March 19, 20, or 21. It is the day when the sun is directly over the equator. March can either feel wintry or springlike for there may be as many blustery, windy days as there are mild, sunny days. In the Northern hemisphere, the animals end their hibernation and many plants come to life again in March. The sap flows in the trees again, and the buds begin to show up. Bears, woodchucks, and chipmunks leave their hibernating spots. We begin to start looking for the first Robin, for the beginning of Spring arrival.

Early Britons termed March hyld-monath meaning a loud or stormy month. When the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, they held their chief season of fasting at this time. It was called the fast of lenet monet. The meaning Spring.  Hence,  March was the spring month, and the fast became known as lent.  There was an old saying both in England and Scotland that March had borrowed three days from April. So the last three days of March were called the borrowed days.

In Roman times, some very ancient rites began on this day and lasted throughout the month.  In fact, the entire month of March was special to Mars and his priests, the Salii, the leaping priests of Mars.  They were a group of twelve patriarch youths in official dress  who served as special priests during this month and led the procession, dancing and singing,  about Rome in honor of Mars.  

March has always been known for its varied weather. After the rains of February, English farmers hoped for a dry spell, so they could get their sowing and planting done. Therefore they welcomed dust during March. Such proverbs as A dry March never begs for bread and A peck of March dust is worth a king's ransom were born. Since March is known for its blustery winds and changeable weather, there is a saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
March does not have as many widely celebrated holidays as some other months. St. David's Day, honoring of the patron saint of Wales, falls on March 1st.  St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by both the Irish and Americans on March 17th. This date commemorates the death of St. Patrick rather than his birth. All over the country Americans celebrate by "wearing of the green," having dinners and parties together. The moveable feast of Easter may, at times, fall between March 22nd and April 25.  It is also the month I celebrate my birthday.

The March birthstone is the bloodstone. It is sometimes called "St. Stephen's ston." It is a closely compact opaque variety of quartz with a background color of dark green, mottled with irregular spots and streaks of red.
The ancients called the bloodstone "jasper." It was one of the gems in the breastplate of the High Priest.  The alternate birthstone for March is the aquamarine.  These gems are transparent and translucent, varying in hue from pale blue to deep blue. There is also a bluish-green variety.  In olden days, the aquamarine were used for dagger handles and in various other ways. Some sources say that among some people at one time, there was a belief that this stone would protect its owner from the perils of the sea and endow her with the spirit of youth and fascination. There was also a saying that the gem in powdered form would cure laziness.

The daffodil is the March birth flower. Daffodils have the flower meaning of rebirth, respect, regard and unrequited love. The daffodil is one of the first flowers of spring, therefore it is a symbol of rebirth. The March birth flower, daffodil, is the common English name for all narcissus plants. 

"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here."
-   Author Unknown-


  1. Love the photo of the Mad March hares!

  2. Is it March again already!!!!
    Those birthdays come around faster and faster. ;0)

  3. "March is a month of considerable frustration"

    "March, our third month, is the warrior month; it has a character all of its own."

    -smirk- That's MY Month, for sure! ,-)

  4. my birth month too...i love the aquamarine