The First Day of March: Winter or Spring? Love it or Hate it?

March- the third month of the calendar. When you think of March do you think of the Ides of March, the March Hare or the “March” of time?  In Minnesota, March is a time of iffy weather. March is often the last gasp of winter and it can be the snowiest month of the year or it may bring warm weather and an early spring. There have been a few years of late (most likely due to global warming) where I have even had my motorcycle out for an early run in March. After yesterdays storm though, it may be that Minnesota is finally going to get some winter weather.  Since Karen and I are down in Arizona until the 30 of this month, we can only hope that spring will come early.  I am actually writing this from Dearborn, Michigan where I am doing an ACICS school accreditation visit.  It was funny getting up yesterday morning to a wet cold blustery day.  Despite the fact, that we can get similar temperatures in Arizona, it does not feel the same. I actually felt “cold” for the first time in about six months.  I am beginning to actually like living in Arizona during the winter. 

March 21st is (at least officially) the first day of spring. However, few in Minnesota expect to see flowers blooming yet.  Many will be getting the old ice houses off the lakes and maybe even putting away the snowmobiles. March was originally the first month of the Roman calendar because the winter months of January and February were unsuited for warfare. Military campaigns could begin as soon as the weather was suitable for “marching.” Today when March rolls around, we start thinking that summer cannot be far away. For many of us, particularly those who like to do things late, tax preparations will need to be finished before the April 15th deadline.

Finally, we snowbirds, the terms they call us in Arizona will start to return to the upper Northwest. Many other Minnesotans will be returning from their winter sojourns to Florida and Texas. We “fair weather” Minnesotans are called “snow-birds.” Snow-birds fly south about January or December each year and return when they sense the last days of winter are over. Minnesota probably has more snow-birds than any other state in the US. I found it funny last year when we returned that several people in our village called us “robins.” We are snowbirds in Arizona and robins in Minnesota. I used to say that this was not a bad way of living if you were rich or retired or had a portable job.  I can not say this anymore since i have joined the flock.  I am not rich or retired but I guess my job is somewhat portable.  Nevertheless, I can still sympathize with those who must endure any remaining winter weather amid hopes that March is really the harbinger of spring and warmer temperatures. Still, none but the foolish should put their snow throwers in storage yet.

What does March mean to you? What holidays, festivals or traditions stand out most for you in March? What do you do in March that makes it unique for you? Is March the beginning of your spring or the beginning of your fall? If you live in the southern hemisphere, no doubt you will have a different set of associations and expectations for fall.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 00:24:11

    When “should” time periods begin? When I was a kid, I thought of Monday as the first day of the week because that was when the weekend ended and I went back to school. The Christians start the week on Sunday, the Jews on Saturday, and the Muslims on Friday. When it comes to years, it strikes me as most plausible that the year starts with Spring (birth), and ends with Winter(death). I hadn't realized that the Romans began with March. What about Janus facing both forward and back? Yet up until FDR's time, the Presidential inauguration was in March, not January. The date was moved back to shorten the transition period, but maybe the new beginning of Spring is a better image than beginning in the dead of Winter. Maybe they should have moved election day to January instead.



  2. John Persico
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 19:14:52

    I like your idea Bruce. Maybe the first day of the week should be Wednesday. That would sure change perceptions of time. I still cannot get used to working with outlook calendars and deciding what is the first day of the week. Good to know we have choices.



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