As I am writing this, our Pop’s Prospective article for March, I’m looking out of my window at about 5 inches of snow! For those of us living in the Northeast part of our Country, the month of March sometimes drags on and on and it seems as if our spring will never get here!
However, there are many things to explore and talk about when we think about the Month of March. Oh sure, some of us will always say that March is just a cruel and dismal month — the month when we may come down with bouts of spring fever as we experience some mild days but a month that can also bring us snow and cold weather. So what do I find so interesting about this third month of our year?
Well, let’s look for a moment at one of the earliest happenings in March. Let’s take a trip way back to March 15, 44 B.C. and Caesar’s Assassination. As we may remember from our history lessons, it was Caesar who discussed his pending visit to the Senate with his old pal, Brutus. And it was Brutus who told Caesar “A Soothsayer bids you beware of the Ides of March”. And we all know that Caesar met his demise by assassination that fateful day at the Theater of Pompey. (In ancient Rome, the 15th of each month was called the Ides or “division of the month”). So the Ides of March assumed an entirely new identity after that event on March 15, 44 B.C.: it came to be associated with a phrase to represent a day of sudden change and that would live on in infamy.
Another exciting part of March is the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, which is known, at least informally, as MARCH MADNESS and is also referred to by some as the BIG DANCE. This, as some of you will know, has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States and generates a great deal of interest. The tournament includes 31 Division I teams and 37 other teams as chosen by the NCAA committee. The event begins with a “round of 64”, then is pared down each weekend, eventually going through the “Sweet Sixteen” to a “Final Four” and eventually to the Championship Round competing for the National Championship. Millions of we Americans “fill out a bracket” predicting the winners of all the games and picking a final National Champion. Want another bit of perhaps little known history? The term “March Madness” actually comes to us through Canadian politics where the fiscal year for government begins on April 1. So any agencies and politicians having budget dollars remaining needed to put a push on spending during March to avoid budget reductions, hence the term “March Madness”!
Then, of course, there is the Equinox, which actually occurs twice each year, around March 20 and September 22. This is when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is neither inclined toward nor away from the sun and signals the Vernal Equinox. Ah, spring has sprung! It is also interesting to learn that the name “equinox” comes to us from the Latin aequus (meaning equal) and nox meaning night, because at the equinox, our nighttime and daylight hours are about equal in length and our sun rises and sets due east and due west. And of course it is during this month that our local time here in New Jersey changes from Eastern Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time.
Now, what else of a strange nature can we find about the month of March? Well, we can celebrate any number of “special” events such as Irish American Month, National Craft Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Month and Social Workers Month just to mention a few of them. And if we really want to find an excuse to take a day off during March how about celebrating a few of these:
- National Pig Day, March 1st.
- Hug a GI Today, March 4th.
- Be Nasty Day, March 8th.
- Johnny Appleseed Day, March 11th.
- National Pi Day, March 14th (because today is 3.14, the value of Pi).
- National Quilting Day, March 16th.
- Extraterrestrial Abductions Day, March 20th.
- National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day, March 24th.
- Bunsen Burner Day, March 31st.
And these are just a few of the “Special March Days” that one can celebrate. There are a substantial number of additional “Special” days to celebrate during March.
Finally, no discussion of March should omit recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day, named after Saint Patrick who is most commonly recognized as the Patron Saint of Ireland.
Although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, it is widely recognized and celebrated throughout our country. We observe the day primarily as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades and parties. This holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.
Perhaps a little known fact about St. Paddy’s Day is that the original color associated with it was blue. But over the years (and no one seems to know just when) the color green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks as well as hats, vests, shirts and other costumes are now associated and worn in celebration of the 17th of March. And finally, according to legend, St. Patrick used the 3-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.
So, what exactly is “Pop’s Perspective” on the month of March? Well, rather than think of March as a dismal month, perhaps signaling the end of winter but boring, gray, long and unexciting, I’d prefer to think of March as an exciting month that provides us with a lot of things to do and experience, a month rich in history and a time to watch the days give way to more sun, warmer weather and a great prelude to the springtime that we all love. And, oh yeah: it’s the month when we golfers in the North get back on the course!
Be well, enjoy your March and look for more of Pop’s Perspectives next month.