Depending on your heritage, viewpoint, or passions; the month of March means different things for different folks. It’s Women’s History Month with International Women’s Day on Mar. 8. It’s Lent for many religious folks, which leads up to Easter Sunday. It’s Cinco De Marcho starting on Mar. 5, preparing for St. Patrick’s Day on Mar 17. For sports fans it’s March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament. Don’t forget your office betting pool. Daylight Savings time starts on March 8, where you spring your clocks forward. Also, there is Pi Day for math nerds on the 14th and the Ides of March for Shakespeare fans on the 15th. Let’s take a closer look at some of these events.
Women’s History Month is traced back to 1911 when the first International Woman’s Day was held. The Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day in 1909 in New York which led to an International Socialist Woman’s Conference in 1910 on March 8. This led to the International Woman’s day the following year. It was a focal point for woman’s rights and served to celebrate the memory of working women annually thereafter. The day was predominantly celebrated by communist countries and the socialist movement until 1967 when the feminist movement adopted the holiday. The United Nation commenced celebrating it in 1975.
The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The success of that event was recognized during a 1979 July conference held by the Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College that then led to other similar celebrations nationwide. In 1980, President Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week which then led to Congress declaring the entire month of March as Women’s History Month in 1987. Today many schools, businesses and communities across the nation recognize the history of women during March.
March means Lent and Easter for many. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Lent is “in the Christian Church, a period of penitential preparation for Easter.” In Western churches the Lenten period begins on Ash Wednesday which is six and a half weeks before Easter. It provides for a 40-day fasting period that represents the period of Jesus Christ’s wanderings in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. Easter then, for Christians, represent the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Easter customs will vary within the Christian world but some that may be familiar to most are sunrise services, traditional decorations with the Easter Lily as a symbol of resurrection, and decorating Easter eggs. Non-religious traditions would also be things like the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and parades.
Cinco De Marcho, according to the Urban Dictionary, is the official 12-day season where you begin training your liver for St. Patty’s Day festivities. Supposedly it is properly celebrated by combining the traditions of both St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. St. Patrick’s Day of course is that day where we wear a bit of green and claim a wee bit of the Irish. It started out as a religious holiday celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland – St. Patrick. According to Wikipedia “celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, Irish traditional music sessions” and of course wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
March Madness is the NCAA’s Division One Men’s Basketball Tournament. A single elimination tournament, 68 college basketball teams battle it out to determine the national championship. It was created in 1939 and it has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States. Of course, for baseball fans, it’s spring training that matters not basketball. Speaking of spring, it officially begins March 20 at 12:15 p.m. according to the National Weather Service. Also known as the “Vernal Equinox” this is the day when the “earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun” which means the day has an equal amount of daylight and darkness. And for many, Alfred Tennyson’s quote “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” represents the magic of our transition from winter to springtime. So, whatever your passion, heritage, or viewpoint; may the month of March be all you desire.