Most of the focus in March is on celebrations and events, such as Saint Patrick's Day and Pi Day; however, the month of March is rooted deep in history and deserves an honorable mention. A lot of history resides behind the month of March such as how it got its name, the contents in its calendar, as well as its astrology.
March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars. Many of the other months were named after the Roman gods and goddesses as well, who all served different purposes that relate to the month. In Ancient Rome, March was the time of year to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter. It was also a time of many festivals, presumably in preparation for the campaigning season.
The Roman calendar, a complicated lunar calendar, had twelve months like the current calendar. Only ten of the months had formal names, changing after decades and added January (Januarius) and February (Februarius) to the end of the year. In the early Roman calendar, March (Martius) was the first month of the calendar year; as March brought the first day of spring with the vernal equinox, so it was considered the time for new beginnings and therefore the start of the year. People now follow the Gregorian calendar based on the ancient Roman calendar, believed to be invented by Romulus, who served as the first king of Rome around 753 BC. The calendar went through multiple changes after it was taken from Romulus’ hands and eventually became today’s calendar.
With today’s interest in astrology, many people know about astrological signs like Leo, Capricorn, Aries and more. Ever heard the saying, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb?” Astrological signs are based off of the constellations, and the constellations called Leo and Aries are both visible during March. Leo, the lion, rises in the east at the beginning of March and thus the month “comes in like a lion.” while Aries, the ram, sets in the west at the end of the month, and the month “will go out like a lamb.”
Astrology has changed a lot of today’s thinking as people focus on how the planets are moving, lunar cycles, as well as constellations. Some of the 2022 events are as follows: March 13th is the New Moon, Venus will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky on March 15th, and March 28th is the Full Moon.
Many other things are happening in the month of March, but these things are not talked about much; many people favoring celebrations over other events. Instead of focusing on the popular events such as Saint Patrick’s Day, take a little bit of time to enjoy something such as one of the major astrological events.
Every March, people all over the United States turn their clocks one hour forward, whether they like it or not. Many people believe that the purpose of daylight saving time (DST) is to provide farmers with more daylight, although that is a myth! Plants and animals are not governed by time as humans are; they rely mainly upon the sun. Farmers still have to wait for the dew to evaporate off the hay before bailing it, no matter what time it is; many farmers do not favor the time change.
This raises the question: why was DST introduced? Germany was the first country to adopt DST on May 1st, 1916 during WW1 to conserve fuel; most of Europe followed soon after. Almost two years later, the U.S. adopted the practice; it was unpopular and was soon abolished after the war. It was permanently and uniformly instituted in 1966 with the exception that entire states could forgo the clock changes. Today, Hawaii and Arizona are the only states in America that do not set their clocks forward every March; only 40% of countries worldwide observe DST.
Arizona is situated far enough south that the state government opted out of the time switches because it did not affect their daylight very much. Not all of Arizona did, though; the Navajo Nation, situated mostly in Arizona, participates in DST. There is a smaller Hopi reservation, located fully within the Navajo Nation, that does not. This creates a daylight saving donut, with the Navajo Nation suspended an hour in the future for half the year.
Even though DST was created to save power during wars, this is not the case anymore. In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it was estimated that it increased overall electricity usage by 1%! DST may help people reduce lighting costs, but costs of air conditioning and heating tend to go up due to the different sunset and sunrise time. Because of this, DST tends to be a controversial topic.
In a survey of 84 Bonneville High School staff and students, 57% were against it. 64% reported losing over half an hour of sleep during spring forward; many students, however, commented that their sleep schedules were too irregular to be majorly affected by the jump. DST also seems to affect students’ mental health. Seven surveyed students mentioned stress and depression, and one student said that sleep deprivation combined with seasonal depression and the sun setting early adds up to a lot. Here are some tips for next year!