Did You Know?...Fun March Facts

Welcome to March! Here are some fascinating facts about our 3rd month — or is it? Read on...

1. March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and the Chicago River runs green.

2. Also on March 17th, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon” first hit the Billboard Top 200 chart at number 95 in 1973. A mere 14 years later (736 chart weeks), it finally left the top 200 for the first time, setting a still-unbroken world record.

3. In ancient Rome, March was the first month of the year. Their yearly cycles were 10 months long, beginning in March and ending in December. We still see clues of this old system in our modern calendar. Because December was the tenth month, it was named for the number ten in Latin (decem), just like September was named for seven (septem). But, what about January and February? They were just two nameless months called “winter.”

4. Beware The Ides of March! What does “beware the Ides of March” actually mean? On the Roman calendar, the midpoint of every month was known as the Ides and the Ides of March fell on March 15th. This day was supposed to correlate with the first full moon of the year (remember, winter didn’t count then) and marked by religious ceremonies, but thanks to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar we know it for another reason. Supposedly, in 44 BC, a seer told Julius Caesar that his downfall would come no later than the Ides of March. Caesar ignored him, and when the fated day rolled around, he joked with the seer, “The Ides of March have come.” The seer replied, “aye, Caesar; but not gone.” Caesar continued on to a senate meeting at the Theater of Pompey, and was murdered by as many as 60 conspirators. Ironically, the spot where Caesar was assassinated is protected in today’s Rome as a no-kill cat sanctuary.

5. On March 2, 2016, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly set a new record for the longest uninterrupted trip to space. He returned home after one full year!

6. March was named for …war. The month is named for Mars, the Roman god of war. Incidentally, almost all major US-NATO led military operations beginning with Vietnam, have begun in the month of March, with the exception of the recent action in Afghanistan.

7. On March 20th we see a near 50-50 split of day and night because the sun crosses the plane at the earth’s equator.

8. If you’re a basketball fan, then you know that March is all about the March Madness tournament!

9. Daylight Savings Time begins on March 13th. Set your clocks to “spring forward” 1 hour on this day!

10. Have you heard the proverb “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb?” That's a poetic description of this month, because it usually starts with cold, wintery weather but ends very mildly and pleasant.

11. Finally, what is both numerical and delicious? Pi Day will be here before you know it on March 14th. On this day, many people celebrate the annual occurrence of 3.14 with fresh baked pie!