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The Meaning of March

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

I never thought much about why the months have their names other than the fact that we got the names from the Romans, but I recently learned a little about why specifically the 3rd month was named March. And of course it relates to nature.

The name March comes from the Roman God Mars who everyone recognizes as the god of war. But what less people know, including myself until now, was that he was also the god of agriculture. Mars was responsible for protecting the Roman troops in battle, but also protecting the citizens of the Roman Empire with a healthy and plentiful crop season. The Romans had festivals for Mars in March and October to celebrate both the start and end of the warfare season and the crop season.

So how does this relate to nature? It was intentional that the festivals for the start of the warfare and crop season would be in the 3rd month of the year because this is when the northern hemisphere transitions from winter to spring. As the snow melts and the plants begin to grow, the Roman citizens could start planting their crops to fuel their empire and their army, who could now begin their military campaigns again. The name March was assigned to the month of great importance in the agricultural world as it is the beginning of spring.

Many other cultures have names for March that relate to nature. The Saxons called March Lentmonat which is related to the lengthening of the days after the spring equinox. The Ukrainian word for March is березень which is pronounced Berezen, which translates to month of birches, relating to the birch sap season. In Finnish, their word for March, Maaliskuu, means visible earth, which is in reference to the snow melting away.

Our customs, traditions, and names for many different parts of our cultures came from our ancestors. These people were much more connected to the natural world than we are, therefore these aspects of our lives we have inherited from them are also related to nature. Can you think of any other examples?

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Thank you for another interesting and informative post!

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