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March is the third month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the second of seven months to have a length of 31 days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological beginning of spring occurs on the first day of March. The March equinox on the 20th or 21st marks the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, where September is the seasonal equivalent of the Northern Hemisphere's March.



March, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a book of prayers to be said at canonical hours

The name of March comes from Martius, the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war, and an ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Romulus and Remus. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for warfare,[1] and the festivals held in his honor during the month were mirrored by others in October, when the season for these activities came to a close.[2] Martius remained the first month of the Roman calendar year perhaps as late as 153 BC,[3] and several religious observances in the first half of the month were originally new year's celebrations.[4] Even in late antiquity, Roman mosaics picturing the months sometimes still placed March first.[5]

March 1 began the numbered year in Russia until the end of the 15th century. Great Britain and its colonies continued to use March 25 until 1752, when they finally adopted the Gregorian calendar (the fiscal year in the UK continues to begin on the 6th April, initially identical to 25 March in the former Julian calendar). Many other cultures and religions still celebrate the beginning of the New Year in March.

March is the first month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere (North America, Europe, Asia and part of Africa) and the first month of fall or autumn in the Southern Hemisphere (South America, part of Africa, and Oceania).

Ancient Roman observances celebrated in March include Agonium Martiale, celebrated on March 1, March 14, and March 17, Matronalia, celebrated on March 1, Junonalia, celebrated on March 7, Equirria, celebrated on March 14, Mamuralia, celebrated on either March 14 or March 15, Hilaria on March 15 and then through March 22–28, Argei, celebrated on March 16–17, Liberalia and Bacchanalia, celebrated March 17, Quinquatria, celebrated March 19–23, and Tubilustrium, celebrated March 23. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

Other namesEdit

In Finnish, the month is called maaliskuu, which is believed to originate from maallinen kuu, during March, earth finally becomes visible under the snow (other etymological theories have however been put forward). In Ukrainian, the month is called березень/berezenʹ, meaning birch tree, and březen in Czech. Historical names for March include the Saxon Lentmonat, named after the March equinox and gradual lengthening of days, and the eventual namesake of Lent. Saxons also called March Rhed-monat or Hreth-monath (deriving from their goddess Rhedam/Hreth), and Angles called it Hyld-monath.

In Slovene, the traditional name is sušec, meaning the month when the earth becomes dry enough so that it is possible to cultivate it. The name was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript. Other names were used too, for example brezen and breznik, "the month of birches".[6] The Turkish word Mart is given after the name of Mars the god.

March symbolsEdit

The Daffodil, the floral emblem of March

March observancesEdit

This list does not necessarily imply either official status nor general observance.

Month-long observancesEdit

United StatesEdit

Non-Gregorian observances, 2018Edit

(Please note that all Baha'i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin at the sundown prior to the date listed, and end at sundown of the date in question unless otherwise noted.)

Movable observances: 2018Edit

First Thursday: March 1Edit

School day closest to March 2: March 2Edit

First Friday: March 2Edit

Second Saturday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 3Edit

Fifth Sunday before Pascha and Second Sunday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 4Edit

First Sunday: March 4Edit

Second week: March 4–10Edit

Week of March 8: March 4–10Edit

First Monday: March 5Edit

First Tuesday: March 6Edit

Second Thursday: March 8Edit

Third Saturday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 10Edit

Fourth Sunday before Pascha and third Sunday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 11Edit

Fourth Sunday of Lent, 21 days before Easter Sunday in Western Christianity: March 11Edit

Monday closest to March 9, unless March 9 falls on a Saturday: March 12Edit

Second Monday: March 12Edit

Second Wednesday: March 14Edit

Friday of the second full week of March: March 16Edit

Fourth Saturday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 17Edit

Firth Sunday of Lent in Western Christianity: March 18Edit

  • Passion Sunday: March 18 (no longer officially celebrated by Roman Catholic church, still celebrated by other denominations)

Third Sunday before Pascha and Fourth Sunday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 18Edit

Third week in March: 18–24Edit

Third Monday: March 19Edit

March 19th, unless the 19th is a Sunday, then March 20: March 19Edit

March equinox: March 20Edit

Third Wednesday: March 21Edit

Fifth Saturday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 24Edit

Last Saturday: March 24Edit

Fifth Sunday of Lent in Eastern Christianity: March 25Edit

Week before Easter in Western Christianity: March 25-31Edit

Fourth Monday: March 26Edit

Last Monday: March 26Edit

Fourth Tuesday: March 27Edit

Friday preceding Good Friday in Eastern Christianity: March 30Edit

Day before Palm Sunday in Eastern Christianity: March 31Edit

Fixed observancesEdit


  1. ^ Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Price, Religions of Rome (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 47–48 and 53.
  2. ^ Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), p. 37. The views of Georg Wissowa on the festivals of Mars framing the military campaigning season are summarized by C. Bennett Pascal, "October Horse," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 85 (1981), p. 264, with bibliography.
  3. ^ H.H. Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (Cornell University Press, 1981), p. 84; Gary Forsythe, Time in Roman Religion: One Thousand Years of Religious History (Routledge, 2012), p. 14 (on the uncertainty of when the change occurred).
  4. ^ Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic, p. 85ff.
  5. ^ Aïcha Ben Abed, Tunisian Mosaics: Treasures from Roman Africa (Getty Publications, 2006), p. 113.
  6. ^ "Koledar prireditev v letu 2007 in druge informacije občine Dobrova–Polhov Gradec" [The Calendar of Events and Other Information of the Municipality of Dobrova–Polhov Gradec] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Municipality of Dobrova-Polhov Gradec. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02. 
  7. ^ "March Birth Flower : Flower Meaning". 
  8. ^ "National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month – UCP". 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "National Corndog Day". 
  11. ^

External linksEdit