March, named for Mars, was the first month of the Greek and Roman calendar. Mars is god of war but also of fertile soil, equivalent to the Greek Ares and Tiu or Tiwazn an old sky god of Europe. He is also equated with the Celtic Teutates and the Norse Tyr. Mars' original name was Mavors. After Jupiter, he is the chief Roman god, often called Marspater, "Father Mars." He has three aspects, the martial god Gradivus, the rustic god Silvanus, and the patron of the Roman state Quirinus. The wolf and the woodpecker are his sacred animals.
March was called Mi an Mharta or am Mart in Ireland, the seed time, or mi na riaibhche, "the month of the brindled cow, and Hrethmonath, "Hertha's month," by the Anglo-Saxons, honoring the earth mother Hertha or Nerthus. The Frankish name for March was Lentzinmanoth, "renewal month." The Asatru call it Lenting. An old English name for the month, Hlyda, means "loud" and probably refers to the windy beginning of March. This name survived as Lide among the rustic country dwellers for many years.
The first Full Moon of this month is called the Worm or Sap Moon. More northerly tribes referred to this as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. It shares the names Storm Moon with February and Moon of Winds with April. It may also be referred to as the Moon of the Snowbird or Lenting Moon.
Pisces and Aries hold power over March, the Zodiac turning to Aries around March 21st. The flower for those born in March is the daffodil and smaller jonquil. Bloodstone or jasper, or sometimes aquamarine, are the jewels for the month of March. Pisces birthstone is the amethyst, while diamond is the stone for Aries. Albite, amethyst, chrysoprase, fluorite, green tourmaline, labradorite, moonstone, and opal are other stones for Pisces, and Aries also lays claim to amethyst, carnelian, garnet, fire agate, pink tourmaline, and topaz.
Lunar Holy Days
Over several days preceding the Full Moon, the Hindu festival of Holi is held to celebrate the arrival of spring and the destruction of the demon Holika who was burned to death for devouring children.
The celebration of Chahar-Shanbe Suri (Wednesday Feast), is an old tradition in Iran, marking the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian year. It falls on the Wednesday before the Vernal Equinox.
This is the first day of the Roman festival of Matronalia, sacred to Juno Lucina. It is the anniversary of the foundation of the temple of Juno Lucina on the Esquiline. In homes throughout the empire, prayers are offered to Juno for a prosperous wedlock and women receive presents from men. Traditional gifts consist of fruit or honey. In the temple of the goddess, flower crowned women and girls pray and bring her pious offerings of flowers. The goddess is represented veiled with a flower in her right hand and an infant in swaddling clothes in her left. Female slaves were free on this day while their mistresses waited on them.
During the Strenia, the old laurel branches of the old New Year's Day kept before the doors of the rex sacrorum, the great flamines, the curiae, and the temple of Vesta are replaced by new branches. A new fire is lit in Vesta's secret shrine, to mark the rekindled flame of the New Year. This fire can only be rekindled by a burning glass or by the friction of boring a piece of wood from a fruit tree.
The Salii or Leaping Priests performed a procession in honor of Mars and chanted hymns so archaic that the people of Rome could no longer understand them. They carried shields called ancilia decorated with a figure eight.
In Greece, a "march thread" was left over night on the rosebush. It was then worn on the wrist or big toe until Easter day at which time it was returned to the rosebush. This red thread was supposed to protect the wearer. This custom may date back the initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries at Athens who wore woollen threads to ward off evil.
In Bulgaria, this is Granny March's Day. Women are forbidden to work today or incur the wrath of Granny March who will call upon the weather to demolish the new crops. Tomorrow is Mother's March.
Gwyl o Merriddyn is the Feast of Merlin celebrated beginning at sundown. As Dydd Dewi, this day is holy to St. Davis, the patron saint of Wales. The leek and daffodil, representing the vigorous growth of spring, are his emblematic plants.
In Scotland, March first thru the third is known as Whuppity Scoorie. Designed to wake Mother Earth from her long wintry nap, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic customs held that people must go out and ritually tap the earth three times with a staff or wand, calling Mother Earth by name and telling her it is time to wake. This is a very rowdy and noisy holiday. Mother is a deep sleeper sometimes. Pennies are thrown out for the children who scramble to pick them up, and participants strike each other with balls of paper tied with string (or bonnets).
Iduna, Norse goddess of Spring, is honored today.
The Golden Dawn was founded on this day in 1888.
The Covenant of the Goddess (COG) was formed in 1975.
This day is sacred to Ceadda, god of healing springs and holy wells. He is also known as Saint Chad of Lichfield. His symbol is the Crann Bethadh, the tree of life. Honor a holy well today by cleaning it and making an offering of flowers.
The 17th day of Parmutit in the Egyptian calendar celebrates the Going forth of Seth, Son of Nut.
Aegir, a Teutonic sea god is honored today. He and his Christian counterpart, St. Winnal, control the sea's tide and weather. This day is associated with storms.
First comes David,
Next comes Chad,
Then comes Winnal,
Incidentally, it�s my birthday.
The Japanese Doll festival, O-Hinamatsuri, is celebrated with paper dolls designed to either draw off illness and evil spirits or to act as representatives of the good attributes people want to draw to themselves. The Girls Festival, Jomi No Sekku or Munakata-no-kami, also occurs today. Most Shinto temples actively participate in the Hina-matsuri, Momo-no-sekku, or Jomi-no-sekku.
There are mainly three kinds of dolls: the hina, the tachibina (a paper doll and probably the oldest) and also wooden dolls. Every town is decked with dolls, and every doll-shop in Tokyo, Kyoto, and other large cities is gaily decked with O Hina Sama, the whole Japanese Court in miniature. Many hina dolls are family heirlooms, handed down from mothers to daughters for generations. The regular set (Dairi-hina) consists of fifteen dolls: the lord and lady (Dairi-sama), three ladies-in-waiting (Konjo), five musicians, two retainers and three guards. Many modern hina now represent actors, actresses, baseball players, etc.
Placed beneath the main dolls are various tiny household utensils and furniture, including trays with food bowls, mirrors, musical instruments, boxes, smoking units and many other things. The dolls are offered mochi (rice cakes) dyed in three colors - red, green and white, as well as shirazake, a sweet mild rice wine. New furniture is often added annually. Traditionally, this festival is said to commemorate the birth of the three Muna Katano-Kami, the three daughters of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. It is also a favorite day for marriages.
Rhyfeddod Lleiaf o Rhiannon, the Lesser Mysteries of Rhiannon, begins at sundown and continues till dawn of March 6th. Rhiannon is the Welsh ancestor goddess of the moon and horses. The horse is a shamanic animal symbolic of movement between worlds. Rhiannon is similar to Epona and Mare, two other goddesses of horses. Mare brings dreams and Epona has the power of transformation at her disposal.
An old Irish custom has it that if fires are lit just before dawn at each corner of a perfect crossroad (according to the cardinal points) before sitting down at the side, you may be able to spy Epona fleeing from the coming sunrise.
The three day Greek festival of Anthesteria honors departed souls or keres. It is a festival dedicated to Flora, Hecate, and Dionysus with the intent to "feed" the dead in the hope that the ancestors might bring good fortune to the living and not cause any mischief around living family members.
The festival begins with flowers, phallic processions, and the opening of the newly fermented bottles of wine. The living ritually purify themselves by bathing and making sacrifice to Dionysus. They slaughter calves and share the meat with the god, incinerating some of the meat that it might float up into the air (the custom for sacrificing to all Olympian gods), and eating the rest of it as a shared feast.
The major ritual of the festival is the Choe, libations poured for the dead. The living drink wine and eat with the dead, believing that Dionysic revelry is not limited to the living, but that in his Chthonic aspect as the �Lord of Souls,� that he grants ecstatic experiences to the dead. It is of importannce that the wine and food for the dead and the wine and food for the living never mix. For the food reserved for the dead is just that, not fit for the living. On the last day, visiting spirits are dismissed back to the underworld.
In 1968, the Church of All Worlds (CAW) formed in Missouri to become the first Wiccan Church to do so in the US.
On the 19th day of Parmutit, a Feast of Ra occurs in his Barge at Heliopolis.
When winter storms lose their force, a ship is dedicated to Isis as a new season of sailing begins. This is the ancient Egyptian festival of Isidis Navigum (the ship of Isis) or the Ploiaphesia which honored Isis' invention of the sail and her patronage of sailing-craft and navigation.
As part of the festivities, a parade was performed in honor of Isis. Following in a procession of mummers, the priests carry emblems of Isis. The Chief Priest carries a lamp, a golden boat-shaped light with a tall tongue of flame from a hole in the center. The second priest holds an auxiliaria (ritual pot) in each of his hands, and the third carries a miniature palm-tree. The fourth priest carries a model of the left hand with the fingers stretched out, the emblem of justice as well as a golden vessel in the shape of a woman's breast. From the nipple falls a thin stream of milk. The fifth cleric carries a winnowing-fan woven with golden rods, not osiers. The final man, not a priest, carries a wine-jar.
Next in the procession comes Anubis with a face black on one side and golden on the other and a man carrying a statue of a cow, representing the Goddess as the fruitful Mother of us all. After them walks a priest with a box containing the secret implements of Isis� cult, and another priest carries a secret vessel in his robes. It is a small container of burnished gold with thickly crowded Egyptian hieroglyphics and a rounded bottom, a long spout, and a generously curving handle. Along the handle is an asp raising its head and displaying its throat.
Waiting at the seashore is a beautifully built ship covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics. The sail is fashioned of white linen inscribed with large letters with a prayer for the Goddess's protection of the shipping lanes during the new sailing season, and the long mast is made of fir. The prow is shaped like the neck of Isis's holy goose, and the long keel is cut from a solid trunk of citrus-wood.
The ship is purified with a lighted torch, an egg, and sulphur, and then hallowed and dedicated to the Goddess. All present place winnowing-fans heaped with aromatics and other votive offerings on board while pouring milk into the sea as a libation. When the ship is loaded with gifts and prayers for good fortune, the anchor cables are cut, setting the ship free.
Today is a Japanese Kite festival.
The brotherhood of Roman warriors, the Salii, dance in honor of Mars in ancient Roman warrior garb. Leaping about, they rhythmically beat their figure-eight shields (ancilia) while holding spears.
Household gods in Rome are honored today as well. The Manes and Lares are honored at the Compitalia.
This is the birthday of Laurie Cabot.
Junonalia is a Roman festival held in honor of Juno. A procession of twenty-seven girls, dressed in long robes sing hymns as they accompany a statue of the goddess carved from cypress wood, her sacred tree.
Today is considered Mother Earth's birthday in China.
The Ibo people of Nigeria consider this day the last of the year. This is also a Siamese New Year.
This is the first Day and Night of the Farvardigan, the Ten Days of the Dead, a Persian festival lasting ten days (the 10th to 20th). These days should be spent in deeds of charity, religious banquets (gasan), and ceremonies in memory of the dead. This holy day honors the Fravashis of the ancient Persians who appear to be similar to the Manes of Rome.
Ishtar is honored in Babylon, as is the Syrian and Graeco-Roman Astarte, Aphrodite, and Venus.
In 1314, Jacques de Molay the last grand-master of the Night's Templar was burned at the stake by King Philip IV. He predicted that the King and Pope Clement V would follow him in forty days which they did.
In Greece, feats of strength and superhuman acts of courage are preformed in honor of Herakles or Hercules today.
Hypatia, the divine pagan, martyred by a Christian death squad, is remembered today. She was a famous philosopher and mathematician and dean of the Neo-Platonic school of Alexandria. She was considered an oracle for her wisdom, and was consulted by the magistrates in all important cases.
In Mesopotamia, this day is holy to Marduk.
Today is considered the deadline for planting onions in England.
This is the birthday of Stewart Edward White, psychical researcher, who became the president of the American Society for Psychical Research in San Francisco.
On the 27th day of Parmutit, Sekhmet initiates the End of the World
Diotima, teacher of Socrates, is honored.
The Ghanaian New Year celebration begins today. The first eleven days are devoted to a series purposeful dances designed to drive away the evil spirits of the dead, bring luck, and ensure a good harvest, among other things. On the 12th day, spirit shrines are washed clean of the old year and bad memories. On the thirteenth day, which falls on the day after the spring equinox, the New Year is greeted.
The Roman festival of Verturius Mamurius celebrates the art of armor making.
This is a holy day of Rhea, Greek goddess of the earth and mother to Zeus and of Cybele. River sprites and nymphs are also honored today.
In Egypt on the 30th day of Parmutit, offerings are given to Ra, Asar, Horus, Osiris, Ptah, Sokar and Atum.
Anna Perenna is a Roman goddess whose festival falls on 15th March (originally the first full moon of the year as the New Year once began in March). The goddess apparently had a fruiting grove between the Flaminian and the Salarian roads, where it was customary to have picnics, public prayers, and general revelry in order to bring a healthy year. The nature of the holiday is very similar to May Day and Midsummer Eve celebrations in many parts of Europe.
The "reed bearers" enter the temple of Cybele and a six year old bull is sacrificed.
This is the beginning of Libera or Liberalia, a two day festival to promote a fruitful grape harvest.
The 1st day of Pachons honors the Feat of Horus and His Companions.
Trefuilnid Treochair, the national day of Ireland, is the feast for the "triple bearer of the triple key," a trident carrying divinity assimilated into St. Patrick. His sacred plant is the shamrock.
The Libera or Liberalia is held in honor of Liber, the Roman version of Bacchus, and Dionysus. Slaves were allowed to speak with freedom, and everything bore the appearance of independence. Liber, with his consort Libera, is honored in the hopes of a fruitful wine crop. Old women, crowned with ivy, sell cakes (liba) of meal, honey and oil, and incinerate them on little pans as offerings in the purchasers' name. From liba comes the word libation.
This is the first day of the six day Buddhist Higan festival in honor of the equinox and the Dead. Buddhists believe when the night and day are equally divided, Buddha appears on earth to save stray souls and lead them to Nirvana. Higan means the other shore. A river full of illusions, passion, pain and sorrow marks the division of this earthly world and the future world of salvation. Only when one crosses the river, fighting strong currents of temptation, to the other shore, can enlightenment be found.
The custom of offering food to the dead during the week developed a general custom of giving such specially prepared food to friends and neighbors. The most common food is Ohagi or soft rice ball covered with sweetened bean paste. Sushi or vinegared rice with vegetable, the Japanese counterpart of sandwiches, is also made in many households to offer to the ancestors and distribute to their friends and neighbors. No meat is used in Higan food.
Born in 1877, Edgar Cayce's birthday was today.
The Irish goddess Sheilah na Gig, a fertility goddess, is honored today as a patroness of thresholds and women's mysteries. She is identified variously as St. Patrick's wife or mother. In Iceland, this is known as Sheelah's Day.
Akitu is a ten day long Babylonian festival held in memory of the marriage of heaven and earth.
In Greece, this is known as the Micra (lesser) Panathenaea in honor of Athene. This became the Quintania or Quinquatrus in honor of Minerva in the hands of the Romans. The Panathenaea is the most ancient and most important of Athenian festivals. The Lesser Panathenaea is celebrated every year, with the Megala (greater) Panathenaea held every fifth year and in the third year of every Olympiad. Only later was the Micra Panathenaea moved to spring, perhaps by Roman influence to make it correspond to the Quinquatrus of Minerva. The date of the Micra Panathenaea in the earlier Greek period was May 5th.
In the lesser festival, there are three games conducted by ten presidents. On the evening of the first day, there is a race with torches. On the second, there is gymnastic combat and trials of strength and bodily dexterity. The last is a musical contest, instituted by Pericles, and concerts are performed. The poets compete in four plays, called the tetralogia, the last of which is a satire. The victor in any of these games is rewarded with a vessel of oil and a crown of olives (which are sacred to the goddess), which grew in the grove of Academus.
Other ceremonies were added, such as a procession in which Minerva's sacred peplos, or garment, is carried. Woven by a select number of virgins called ergazika, from ergos, "work," the peplos is white or saffron and sleeveless with gold embroidery detailing the achievements of the goddess. Two of the arrephoroi, young virgins between the ages of eleven and seventeen, attend the ergazika. The arrephoroi wear white with ornaments of gold.
In the ceramicus outside the city near the Hill of Ares, a ship is built. From this, Minerva's peplos is hung as a sail. The ship is taken to the temple of Ceres Eleusinia and then to the citadel where the peplos is placed upon Minerva's statue. The statue lies upon a bed (plakis) woven or strewed with flowers.
The Quinquatrus or Quinquatria in honor of Minerva continues for five days. The first day of the festival commemorates her birth and the founding of her temple, the Minerva Capta. All those whose employment fall under the protection of the goddess celebrate Quinquatria. Students have a holiday during the festival, and begin a new course of study when it is over. Teachers receive their yearly stipend at this time - the minerval. Women and children (as spinners and weavers), artisans and artists, and poets and painters observe the festival of Minerva.
Eyvind Kinnrifi is a martyr for Odin, remembered today.
The Elizabethan statute against witchcraft was enacted in 1563.
The Vernal Equinox occurs on or about the 20th of March. Alban Eilir is observed by the Druids. The Spring Equinox is celebrated with a festival in honor of Eostre, goddess of spring and dawn. Many call it Ostara, the name of the Teutonic virgin goddess of Spring. It was a very important Sabbat from Greece to the Nordic lands. In Egypt, it is the Pelusia, a festival of Isis as she caused the Nile to begin its annual flooding. It has become Easter in the Christian religion but retains its original theme of rebirth. At Ostara, day and night are equal. The Romans referred to this as Nox et Dies, when Ares made night and day run an even race. The Sun will begin to overtake the darkness of winter until its peak at the Summer Solstice in June. Daffodils, woodruff, violets, gorse, olives, peonies, irises, and all Spring flowers are sacred to the Spring Goddess. Foods associated with this holy day, are seeds, leafy green vegetables, spiced or flower cupcakes, fruits, and hard-boiled eggs. Seeds and eggs are symbols of fertility.
This is the last day of the Persian Farvardigan festival of the dead.
The holy city of Tara was founded in Ireland by the Milesian princesses Tea and Tephi. A festival is held in conjunction with the Vernal Equinox, and a sacred fire is lit from which all other fires were kindled.
The Coming Forth of the Great Ones of the House of Ra is recalled on the 6th day of Pachons.
This is No Ruz or Nowruz, the New Year according to the Zoroastrian religion.
This is the Mesopotamian New Year's Day.
A pine is felled representing the death of Attis. The acolytes and initiates proceed to the Temple of Cybele with the sacred pine bearing the effigy of the god in its branches. The tree is laid to rest at the Temple of Cybele.
The festival of Marzenna is a Polish festival. Three to four foot tall straw dolls are woven to represent the waning season. Dressed in festive rags and ribbons, they are tossed into a body of water when spring arrives.
The Asatru festival of Summer Finding, sacred to Thor, acknowledges the light of the sun becoming more powerful than the darkness. Frey and Freya are also honored.
The Spring Imperial Festival, Shunki-Koreisan, is celebrated in Japan. At this, the midpoint of the Higan festival, Buddhists visit their dead.
Today (or on the 25th) there is a festival of Mars and Nerine. Nerine is equated with Neria or Nerio (strong), a Sabine goddess who is identified with Athena (Minerva) or Aphrodite (Venus).
A festival of Isis is held on the 8th day of Pachons
This day is sacred to Prytania or Britannia, the guardian goddess of Great Britain (Albion).
Heimdall, guardian of heaven equated with the archangel Gabriel is honored today.
The Phrygian rites of Cybele and Attis begins tonight with the "day of blood." The sacred pine tree and an effigy of Attis is buried in a tomb and a day of mourning, fasting, sexual abstinence, self-flagellation and self-mutilation commemorating the Mother's grief follows. The High Priest playing the part of Attis draws blood from his arm and offers it as a substitute for a human sacrifice. That night the tomb is found brightly illuminated but empty, the god having risen on the third day. Initiates undertake the Mysteries and are baptized in bull's blood at the Taurobolium to wash away their sins whereupon they are "born again." They then become ecstatic and frenzied and recruits to the priesthood castrate themselves in imitation of the god.
This is Dies Sanguinis, called Bellona's Day in Rome.
This is the Hilaria (festival of joy) or Lady Day. The resurrection of Attis and the onset of spring is celebrated with a sacramental meal and a day of joy and feasting. Those who castrated themselves become Gallicocks, dressing in women's clothes and wearing perfumed oils.
Lady Day became a strong tradition in Cornish and Welsh areas. Though the date varies, April 24th or Mid July, today's date dominates. During Medieval times, this holy day was moved to April 4th and renamed in honor of St. Mark in an effort to break the pagan influence of the holiday.
Eggs are buried in fields in Cornwall for fertility, everything is decorated with flowers, and there is feasting and dancing. Looking into a pool of rainwater while drinking fresh milk allowed young women to scry for a future mate. Dairy products were a major food of the feast. A woman who gives birth today is considered blessed by the goddess. The afterbirth is sacred and is offered back to the goddess in sacrifice. The famous Men an Tol, standing stones, in Cornwall is a site of fertility rituals for women having trouble conceiving. The woman passes herself nine times clockwise through a natural hole in the stones.
This is one the days upon which it was asserted the world was created.
Pope Innocent III established the Inquisition in 1199.
On the 14th day of Pachons, the Day of cutting out of the tongue of Sobek is recalled.
This is the start of the growing season in Slavic countries. Until today, the earth was pregnant, and it was considered a grave sin to plow the pregnant earth with iron.
This is the birthday of Joseph Campbell, author and professor of mythology.
The rite of Cybele and Attis continues with the Requietio, a day of repose or recovery from the festivities.
Liberalia honors the Roman vegetation god Liber. Held to mark the transition from boyhood to manhood, this is usually set at the age of seventeen.
This is the last day of the rites of Cybele and Attis, the Lavatio. A procession travels to the brook Almo with an image of the goddess sitting in a wagon drawn by oxen. The statue's face is of jagged black stone, a meteorite, set in a body of silver. The high priest washes the wagon, the image, and the other sacred objects in the waters of the stream. A series of religious dramas and entertainments follows.
The sun and moon were created.
The old Roman festival of Sacrifice at the Tombs is performed to honor the ancestors.
Scott Cunningham died in 1993 from complications caused by AIDS.
The Bobo people of Africa believe the equilibrium of the sun, rain, and soil is upset every time humans farm. Each year, they masquerade in special costumes and painted masks, begging the intermediary god to correct the balance, banish evil, and bring rain.
This is the date of a festival in honor of Ishtar in Babylon.
A festival of Janus and Concordia is held today.
The Romans honor Luna, goddess of the Full Moon, with a festival at her temple on the Aventine hill.