March 1–Shrove Tuesday/Mardi GrasMarch 2–Ash Wednesday/Texas Independence Day
March 8–International Women’s DayMarch 12–St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Utica
March 13–Daylight Savings Time Begins at 2 A.M.
March 17–St. Patrick’s Day
March 28–Seward’s Day, Alaska
March 31–César Chávez Day
March is the most variable month of the year weather and temperature wise. It can be warm an balmy on occasion for a few days, leading one to believe spring has arrived, only to revert back to winter with a snow storm of several inches, though rarely falling back to sub-zero temperatures.
The Vernal Equinox of March 20th is the beginning of spring. How soon after the Equinox, the first Full Moon occurs determines the variable dates of Easter and Passover. With a Full Pink Moon on April 16th, Easter occurs on April 17th.
The pre-Easter period of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 1st. This is after a usually hang-over inducing celebration with parades, feasting and drinking of Mardi Gras, most notably celebrated in New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, Rio de Janeiro, and Carnival in Quebec. In English this is known as ‘Fat Tuesday.’
In the U.K. and Commonwealth countries, this is known as Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are a traditional food on this last day prior to the fasting of Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday. In Olney, England a pancake race has been held this day since the mid fifteenth century. The race involves wearing an apron and scarf and flipping a pancake while hurrying a short distance, based on a legend of woman racing to church with a griddle in her hands, not wanting to late for services were announced by church bells. In 1950, Liberal, Kansas proposed a friendly invitation for a race between the two cities, and this has been held annually as International Pancake Day ever since.
The Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a long tradition of over 40 years. The weather on Parade Day is unpredictable. It can be winter-like with the eighteen-inch snow storm of 1993, leading to national publicity a few days later by Dolly Parton on late night television mentioning the “crazy people” marching in a blizzard. A few years ago, the day was quite mild in the 70s. More typically it is between these two extremes, usually in the 30s and 40s.
One of the largest parades of the Irish in the state. This is the true beginning of spring, whatever the weather, as folks come out of winter hibernation. After a long cold winter and the last two years of being cancelled due to the pandemic, this year’s parade on March 12th should be a beginning of better times.
In the Night Skies
This March, the planets are not visible in the evening, only in the early morning eastern sky. On March 2, Mercury and Saturn are in conjunction about at 3° high, but only visible if one has an ocean-flat eastern horizon. However, higher in the sky, Venus is more easily seen slightly above a dimmer Mars. On March 24-26, a triangular conjunction can be seen, with Venus at the top, Mars to the lower right and Saturn to the lower left. On the 28th, a waning Crescent Moon is below the remnants of this triangle. Jupiter is not seen this month, being in conjunction with the Sun on March 5th.
We spring ahead one hour to Eastern Daylight Time on March 13th at 2 A.M., thus sunrise and sunset are an hour later starting on March 13th.
Moon Phases for March
March 2 EST–New Moon; Rise 6:59 A.M., E; Set 5:52 P.M., W
March 10 EST–First Quarter Moon Rise 10:27 A.M., NE; Set 1:38 A.M., NW
March 18 EDT–Full Worm Moon Rise 7:44 A.M., E; Set 7:37 P.M., W
March 25 EDT–Last Quarter Moon Rise 3:07 A.M. , SE; Set 11:41 A.M., SW
Rise and Set times of Sun, Moon, and visible planets on Vernal Equinox, March 20th.
Sun–Rise 7:03 A.M.; Set 7:13 P.M.
Moon–Rise 10:10 P.M., E; Set 8:23 A.M., W
Mercury–Rise 6:49 A.M., E
Venus–Rise 5:04 A.M., E
Mars–Rise 5:13 A.M., E
Saturn–5:40 A.M., E