Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March 2007

The flower for March is violet.

March is the third month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It was the first month on the early Roman calendar and was called Martius. Later, the ancient Romans made January 1 the beginning of the year, and March became the third month. March has always had 31 days. Its name honors Mars, the Roman god of war.

March brings in spring and ends the winter. Spring in the northern half of the world begins with the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 19, 20, or 21. On this day, the center of the sun is directly over the equator.

March can be both wintry and springlike. Blustery, windy days occur as frequently as mild, sunny days. In the Northern Hemisphere, many animals end their hibernation, and many plants come to life again, during March. Sap flows in the trees, and green buds begin to appear. The first pussy willows and wild flowers can be found in the woods. Most frogs lay their eggs. Hibernating animals, such as bears, chipmunks, and woodchucks, leave their winter sleeping places. Wild geese and ducks begin their northward flights. In March, people begin to look for the first robin as a sign that spring has really come.

The Irish celebrate March 17 as the feast day of St. Patrick.

The flower for March is the violet. The birthstones are the bloodstone (a variety of chalcedony) and the aquamarine.

There are many superstitions about March. We often hear that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." This means that the first day of March is often stormy, and the last day is mild and warm. Another saying is, "April borrowed from March three days, and they were ill." This refers to the first three days of April, which are generally rough and blustery like March. A third saying calls the first three days of March "blind days" because they are "unlucky." If rain falls on these days, farmers supposedly will have poor harvests.

Photo: grethe bachmann

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