Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kalendas March

Modern Date : March 1st Market Day

Kalendas March
The Kalends of March

This day (NP), is for special religious observance.

The Matronalia
March 1st is the Roman New Year's Day the beginning of Spring as well as the new sacral year. This day was known as the Matronalia because Juno is the presiding deity of both the first day of the year, and the year as a whole. Juno, the matron, or wife, of Jupiter, is the mother of Mars. Juno, also called Saturnia and known as Hera by the Greeks, was the daughter of Cronus (Saturn) and regarded as a paragon of motherly virtues. She was the divinity of sacred marriage and childbirth. Presents were given to women on this day.

On this day the priests of Mars, the sacrarium Martis, would carry shields, leaping and dancing through the streets of Rome. This spectacle would continue through March 24th.

The Kalends of March were the last day of what came to be called Carnival, the period of celebration from the Terminalia to this symbolic first day of Spring. Mardi Gras continues to be celebrated, as the last great Roman holiday, but now ends on Fat Tuesday rather than specifically on March 1st.

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 Mháárta or am Mart in Ireland, the seed time, 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.

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, Sap Moon, and Lenting Moon.

The Order of the Golden Dawn was founded on March 1, 1888

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.

Ash Wednesday
For Roman Catholics, this is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the season of austerity leading to the celebration of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter. On this day the celebrant of the rite marks crosses of black ash on the third eye chakras of the faithful to remind them of the vanity of all worldly pleasures, and ask them to turn inward to cleanse the soul of all impurities in the weeks before the solemn rites of sacrifice and redemption are enacted. Ash Wednesday is yet another Christian adaptation of an earlier festival: the Adonia, a time of mourning for the Syrian demigod Tammuz, whose rites were observed at this time all over the eastern Mediterranean, especially at Byblos and the other major cities of Syria.

Lent comes from a word lenctene meaning to lengthen, as the days lengthen and spring begins. For many centuries this has been a time of purification and atonement, aligning with the energy of change and growth in preparation for the celebration and joy of Easter Sunday.

The Russian goddess named Mokos was said to wander during Lent, visiting houses, disguised as an old woman, worrying wool-spinners, guarding and fleecing the sheep herself. At night, strands of fleece were laid beside stoves as offerings to her.

St David’s Day
St David was an abbot and a bishop of the sixth century who established a monastery at Pembrokeshire in Wales, and is considered the patron saint of Wales.

March, various, fierce, and wild, with wind-crack’d cheeks
By wilder Welchman led, and crown’d with leeks!

— Churchill, “Gotham” iii 101

To show your Welsh allegiance, wear a daffodil. To become a honorary Welshman, eat a leek. Some say eating a leek celebrates a Welsh victory in the 6th century, where the Welsh, advised by St. David, wore leeks in their caps to distinguish themselves in battle from the Saxons. Others say it is the plant of Wales because it is green and white, the colors of the Welsh flag. There's also a tradition that eating leeks in March is good medicine.

Eat leeks in March and ramsons [wild garlic] in May
And all the year after the physicians may play

Upon St David’s Day
Put oats and barley in the clay

Folk custom says that sowing sweet peas between the feasts of St. David and St. Chad will produce larger and more fragrant flowers (also Mar 17 and Mar 21 when the same conditions apply).

The Sharp Days
This was considered the first day of the year in Venice and in Russia until the fourteenth century. It was also the first day of the Ottoman financial year.

The Greeks say that good weather begins on March 1st. Supposedly, a thread left out overnight on a rosebush, then tied around the wrist or big toe will protect the wearer and is worn until Easter Day. St John Chrysostom complained of this custom (March 22) and that of tying bells on children to protect them.

In the Dodecanese and elsewhere, children go around with the effigy of a swallow singing a song in honor of the bird and the fine weather it brings and asking for food offerings. This custom derives from ancient Rhodes.

The first three days of March are called Sharp Days: One should not wash clothes (for they will wear out), chop wood (or it will rot) or bathe (for one's hair will fall out).

Baba Marta’s Day
Before the first day of March in Bulgaria, people give each other martenitsas (or martenkas), red and white wool tassels, sometimes with a gold or silver coin attached. On the first day of March, the martenitzas are tied around wrists, trees, house doors, cars, young animals. People greet each other by saying Chestita baba Marta, which means “Happy Grandmother March.” She is considered to be as moody as the weather is changeable during the month of March.

You are supposed to wear the martenitsa until you see the first stork returning from the south, thus signaling the beginning of spring. The red and white colors come from blood and snow in an old story where a stork protects a child whose parents are away. It is said the red color protects you from disease and the white color helps you live longer. This sounds like a protection charm during the dangerous transition between winter and spring, similar to the way Brigid’s crosses are used in the northern Celtic countries. The red color shows up frequently in March, Spring Eve (March 21) and the red and white pastries of Hina Matsuri (March 3) and the name of Red Wednesday.

Dragon Raises Head
On the second day of the second lunar month, the Chinese eat dragon-scale cakes and dragon-whisker noodles. No one does needlework as needles might injure the dragon's eyes. Earlier this day was called Mid(spring) Harmony.


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