March brings with it the promise of gardening and warm(er), sunny days, as Earth turns its frostbitten cheek to winter and springs forth from the vernal equinox. Read about this month’s holidays, happenings, seasonal recipes, gardening tips, Moon phases, folklore, and much more!
March, the third month of the year, was named for the Roman god of war, Mars. Traditionally, this was the time of year to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter. Read more about how the months got their names.
Originally, March is the third month of the year. It has 31 days and is named after Mars, the Roman god of war.
In the early Roman calendar, March (or Martius) was the first month! As March brought the first day of spring with the vernal equinox, it was the start of new beginnings.
March became the third month when January and February, which were added to the end of the Roman calendar around 700 BCE, were moved to the first and second months around 450 BCE.
I Martius am! Once first, and now third!
To lead the Year was my appointed place;
A mortal dispossessed me by a word,
And set there Janus with the double face.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807–82)
March 2020 Holidays
- Sunday, March 8 is the start of Daylight Saving Time, which begins at 2:00 A.M. that night. If your area observes it, don’t forget to set the clocks one hour ahead, or you’ll find yourself an hour late to appointments!
- March 8 is also International Women’s Day, which is a day that not only celebrates the achievements of women and the progress made toward women’s rights, but also brings attention to ongoing struggles for equality around the world.
- Sunday, March 15 is the Ides of March! Legend surrounds this ill-fated day. Beware the Ides of March!
- Tuesday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. According to folklore, folks wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day because the saint used its three leaves to explain the Trinity.
- Thursday, March 19 brings about the March equinox—also called the vernal or spring equinox—marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the Sun stands directly over Earth’s equator. In the Southern Hemisphere, this date marks the autumnal equinox and the beginning of fall.
- March 29-31 are the Borrowing Days. According to lore, the last three days of March have a reputation for being stormy.
- Looking ahead: This year, Easter Sunday will occur on April 12, culminating the Holy Week for Christian churches and commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Read more about Easter Sunday and find out why the date changes every year.
The brown buds thicken on the trees,
Unbound, the free streams sing,
As March leads forth across the leas
The wild and windy spring.
–Elizabeth Akers Allen (1832–1911)
“Just for Fun” Days
Did you know that March is National Umbrella Month? Here are some more wacky things to celebrate this month:
- March 3: What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day
- March 9: International Fanny Pack Day
- March 13: National Ear Muff Day
- March 16: National Panda Day
- March 21: Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
- March 23: World Meteorological Day
- March 31: World Backup Day
The Full Worm Moon
March’s full Moon, the Worm Moon, reaches peak fullness on Monday, March 9, at 1:48 PM EDT. Look for it that evening as it rises above the horizon!
Why is it called the Worm Moon? Find out in our March full Moon guide!
March Moon Phases
First Quarter: Mar. 2, at 2:57 P.M. EST
Full Worm Moon: Mar. 9, at 1:48 P.M. EDT
Last Quarter: Mar. 16, at 5:34 A.M. EDT
New Moon: Mar. 24, at 5:28 A.M. EDT
You may have heard the weather proverb, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb,” which means that if the month starts off stormy, it will end with mild weather. There is, however, a different interpretation: The constellation 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 hence, the month “will go out like a lamb.”
The Start of Spring
The March equinox occurs on Thursday, March 19 at 11:50 P.M. EDT. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is known as the vernal, or spring, equinox and marks the start of the spring season. In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn begins.
At this time, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north. Also on this day, the Sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west—a good thing to know if you get lost in the woods.
The March equinox occurs on March 19 at 11:50 P.M. EDT in 2020, ushering in the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere. At this time, the Sun’s position will be at which of the following coordinates on the celestial sphere?
A. 0 hour right ascension, 0° declination.
B. 6 hours right ascension, 23.5° North declination.
C. 12 hours right ascension, 0° declination
D. 18 hours right ascension, 23.5° South declination
Answer: A. B describes the Sun’s position during the June (summer) solstice; C, during the September (fall) equinox; and D, during the December (winter) solstice.
Photo Credit: Sergii Kononenko/Shutterstock
- Planning a vegetable garden? We’ve done all the research for you—from how far to space plants to seeding dates to best crops to plant together. Try the Almanac Garden Planner for free!
- Wondering when to plant what? Check out our free location-based Planting Calender to see when to start seeds and transplant in your area.
- Just getting started with gardening? Check out our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners Guide, as well as our numerous veggie, fruit, flower, and herb Growing Guides for more advice.
Irish Stew. Photo Credit: Sumners Graphics Inc./Getty Images
Recipes for the Season
- In celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, try making some traditional Irish food—from Irish Soda Bread to Corned Beef and Cabbage. See 20 St. Patrick’s Day recipes.
- March is the start of spring! Enjoy this delicious Spring Risotto recipe, as well as this recipe for Cream of Fiddleheads Soup.
- See our Spring Recipes collection for more delicious recipes using the season’s best ingredients.
- Now is the time for making maple sugar. Read more about this natural wonder. And, to make use of that delicious syrup, check out our favorite Pancake Recipes!
- According to folklore, wear a sprig of rosemary in your hair to improve your memory! Here are more Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Memory.
- March brings rain and mud! Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming. Find more cleaning tips.
Birds & Fishing
According to Henry David Thoreau, the call of a bluebird is a song that “melts the ear, as the snow.” Read more about this lovely bird in “House-hunting With the Bluebird.”
Check birdhouses for damage and give them a spring cleaning before tenants arrive for the season. Learn how to attract birds to your garden!
Spring means fishing! See when the Best Days to Fish this year are.
Folklore for the Season
- A wet spring, a dry harvest.
- On St. Patrick’s Day, the warm side of a stone turns up, and the broad-back goose begins to lay.
- March comes in with adders’ heads and goes out with peacocks’ tails.
- Thunder in spring, Cold will bring.
- So many mists in March you see, So many frosts in May will be.
- In beginning or in end, March its gifts will send.
- Bleak winds assault us all around;
Dances aloft, or skims the ground:
See the school-boy—his hat in hand,
While on the path he scarce can stand
March’s birth flower is the daffodil or jonquil. The daffodil signifies regard or unrequited love. The jonquil means “I desire a return of affection.” See more about March’s birth flower.
March’s birthstone is the aquamarine. This gem is a type of beryl; its color can be pale to dark blue, greenish-blue, or blue-green; deep, intense blue versions are more valuable. See more about March’s birthstone.
March’s Zodiac signs are Pisces (February 20 to March 20) and Aries (March 21 to April 20). See your Zodiac profile.