Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.
Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.
While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is March.
March comes from the Roman month Martius, the first month of the 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. Thus, the month of Martius was known as the beginning of the season of warfare.
Martius remained the first month of the year until 153 BC, and many of the religious observances in the month doubled as celebrations of the new year. Martius observances included Agonium Martiale (March 1st, 14th, and 17th), Matronalia (March 1st), Junonalia (March 7th), Equirria (March 14th), Mamuralia (March 14th or 15th), Hilaria (March 15th and 22nd-28th), Argei (March 16th and 17th), Liberalia and Bacchanalia (March 17th), Quinquatria (March 19th-23rd), and Tubilustrium (March 23rd). These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.
In Finnish, the month is called maaliskuu, believed to originate from maallinen kuu. During March, the earth finally becomes visible under the snow, quite literally “a month with ground”. In Ukrainian, the month is called березень/berezenʹ, meaning birch tree. Similary, it is known as 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. That mouthful was was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript. The Turkish word Mart is given after the name of the god Mars.
The Catholic faith observes March as the Month of Saint Joseph, the believed human father of Jesus. In Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, it is Women’s History Month. On the international stage, it is Endometriosis Awareness Month.
In Canada, March is National Nutrition Month. The United States, on the other hand, floods the market with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Music in our Schools Month, National Athletic Training Month, National Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Kidney Month, National Nutrition Month, National Professional Social Work Month, National Reading Awareness Month, Youth Art Month, and National Ladder Safety Month.
The March Equinox occurs this month, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
- March’s birthstones are the aquamarine and bloodstone, both symbolizing courage.
- The western zodiac signs of March were Pisces (until March 19, 2020) and Aries (March 20, 2020 onwards).
- The month’s birth flower is the daffodil.
Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.
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