Why March is the Month of War

It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. March,  named after the Roman God of War, Mars, would certainy suggest an aggressive month. For the Anglo-saxons, March was called Hreth Month (Saxons), which means rugged or Hyld Month (Angles), which means stormy month. We get the picture.

There are storms and snow, gales and blizzards. But there are a lot of good things about March. As I sit writing now, the sun is bright even though it is frosty, birds are singing very loudly and everywhere shows signs of life with green sproutings all around. It is the month where  spring starts.

For hundreds of years, until 1752, March was the New Year (see Why January 1 is a Confusing New Year). In many ways, it is right that March is the start of a new year. Life begins at this time in nature, everything seems fresh and new. Sometimes, Easter is in March as well, with all the stories of rebirth and resurrection it’s easy to see why March should be celebrated as the New Year.

Mars, besides being the god of war was also the god of agriculture. The message here is that March sees the start of the farming year and the start of the fighting year. Well, who wants to fight in the winter?

Astronomically there is, of course, the Spring or Vernal Equinox, when night and day are almost equal in length. This was called Lenten by the Anglo-Saxons, which means spring. The full moon at this time was called the Lenten Moon. This led to the Christians calling the period before Easter, Lent. The first full moon after the equinox is the date of Easter. See how it all falls together.

Let us march towards the light and warmth. Hehe…

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