Welcome to March, and the First Fun Fact Friday of the month! In London we are enjoying nice warm weather and hoping that this may be the start of Spring – BRING IT ON! I like my weather extreme – extremely hot or extremely cold - just don’t let it rain.
In folk law if ‘it rains in March so it (will) rain in June’ – seemingly faulty logic, but lets hope that doesn’t happen!
March used to be the first month in the calendar and it was named after the Roman god of war- Martius, it is also known as Hlyd montha (stormy month) because of the typical weather.
For anyone religious, it’s also the time for Lent - the Christian observance from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. After 40 days, if then culminates in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I went to a Church of England school, so grew up observing Lent but nowadays I don’t partake.
Did you give up anything for Lent this year?
Outside of Lent, we don’t have to wait until April for celebrations– before then we have St Patrick’s Day on the 17th – and who doesn’t have some Irish heritage or relation or distant cousin? In the UK, the pubs turn green and wherever you are there will be some sort of celebration. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish descendants, especially in places such as the UK, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is
probably the most widely celebrated saints’ day in the world.
Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue - but by the 17th century, Green had over taken as the more recognised colour. You will also see plenty of Shamrocks - Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.
Further to the day’s celebration, it has also become a festival in Dublin! The first Saint Patrick's Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009's five day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.
As it turns out, Laura was actually there for the festival!! Her report was that it was crazy busy, lots of drink and there were a TON of Canadians there. And that she can’t really understand Irish people. Thanks for the valuable input, Laura!
As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford.
The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick's Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.
The shortest St Patrick's Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village's two pubs. I'm sure there will be plenty of Guinness consumed in those pubs :)
|At the Guinness Factory in Dublin|
In London we will be holding our St Patrick’s Day parade on March the 18th (also Mother’s Day in the UK!) this year– starting at Green Park it precedes through the streets to Trafalgar square. All 32 Irish counties are represented and dressed in traditional county colours.
Apart from St Patrick’s Day, March had a few momentous occasions in history:
In March 2000, the Disney Company reversed its 43-year ban on moustaches for its theme- park employees. A memo sent to the 12,000 Disneyland and Walt Disney World employees said guests would be comfortable with “neatly trimmed moustaches.” Founding father Walt Disney sported his own moustache, but that didn't stop him in 1957 from banning facial hair. He did this to distance his crew from stereotypical county-fair “carnies.” The grooming code at the theme parks still bans beards, goatees, piercings, and unnatural hair colours. Hahahaha.
In March 1986, pop star Michael Jackson received the biggest commercial sponsorship deal in history at that time from Pepsi-Cola. He was paid $15 million up front to appear in two TV commercials, and Pepsi agreed to sponsor his first solo tour. Also, a 1984 Pepsi sponsorship of $7 million was split among the other Jackson brothers. As you may know, Laura and I are Coca-Cola fans (and big Michael Jackson fans) but Pepsi do great marketing, we can’t deny that – check out my favourite Pepsi video here!
On their way from Chicago to Los Angeles, 55 Oscars disappeared on March 10, 2000. Nine days later, 52 of the stolen statuettes were found next to a trash dumpster in Los Angeles’ Koreatown section. Willie Fulgear was the lucky man to find them and as a reward, he was invited to the 2000 Academy Awards as a special guest.
"Happy Birthday" was the first song to be performed in outer space, sung by the Apollo IX astronauts on March 8, 1969. It’s also the month of my Mum’s birthday! But no, they weren’t singing it to her.
So let’s get the party started – from Mardi Gras to St Patrick’s, the excuses just keep coming!
Enjoy your weekend!