The saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” seems to be true this year, after consecutive storms in February I’m ready to settle into spring and more mellow days of sunlight, flowers and birdsong.
March is such a hopeful month, bursting with yellow blossom and welcoming in the start of spring. Early spring is my favourite time of year, for me it symbolises anticipation, rebirth and new beginnings. Its a period of awakening and a time to leave the quiet retreat of winter behind for another year. In all its glorious fragile beauty it is a much-needed antidote to the long, brutal winter.
The origin of the word march comes from the latin martius, named after the Roman god Mars who was the god of agriculture and less pleasantly, war. In Roman times March was actually the first month of the year. And I personally feel that it still is for me. While I celebrate the new year in January, like most of the world, I never truly feel that thrill of excitement for a fresh year until spring begins in March. The saxon word for March was lentmonat which means lengthening month. And Other names for march were Hraedmonath or rugged month and Hlydmonath-stormy month.
Early spring sneaks into winter gradually, first of all it’s the light-it weakly filters through our curtains when the children wake me in the morning-a hazy pre-light tentatively pools through the curtains and the start of the dawn chorus trickles through the open window.
Early spring can still be a very turbulent season with its weather. Some days are full of birdsong and bursts of growth while others are white with frost and bone cold. However by the time that March comes to a close, there is substantially more day length and the landscape around us erupts in a flurry of transition and growth.
If March had a colour, it surely would have to be yellow. With jolly nodding daffodils filling garden beds, road sides and vases-it becomes the flower of the month. Symbolising the childlike joy of spring and alerting us to the season of blossom which is just around the corner.
My usual daily walks around the farm become far more attractive once Spring arrives. First of all there’s the bright gorse flowers, willow buds and then frogspawn to spot in the river. Theres pungent wild garlic, aromatic and delicious, scenting the air during our forest strolls. The very earth under our feet is waking up, and the smell of it-rich and sweet is easily noticed if you take a moment to pause and breath it in. The natural world is rising from its slumber and these first signs of spring are pure moments of magic and wonder.
This year we’ve welcomed sheep onto the farm. They are almost ready to give birth and Im so excited to see the fields full of gambolling lambs. Growing up in Wicklow, our home was opposite a field that was used for sheep and one of my memories of spring was seeing the newborn lambs each year, and sometimes the farmer would bring us one to hold. Their high energy and playfulness seems to just sum up that seasonal spring energy.
There are many celebrations during march which I like to mark. The very first day of of the month is Pancake day or shrove tuesday and the perfect excuse to heat up my cast iron pan with frothing butter and fry thin pancakes which I then top with a sprinkle of crunchy sugar and some fresh lemon juice.
International Women’s Day is on the 8th and this year I will doing a Instagram live for author Jenny Jefferies, where I will be speaking about farming as a woman. I’ll share a link over on my Instagram page.
Here in Ireland, the main celebration of March is St Patrick’s day on the 17th. In my early twenties this was an excuse to dress up, drink Guinness and see the parades but now I tend to just celebrate this day in a more quite manner - Perhaps read some Irish poetry, make some stout cake and do some crafts with my children. Maybe we’ll find a four leafed clover? My older sister could always spot them, but Ive yet to find my very own.
After Paddy’s day theres the big moment of March, the vernal equinox on the 20th. This is officially the first day of spring. When daylight and darkness are equal. A turning point on the calendar of the year and a day of balance when we can fully shrug off winter and welcome in a season of light, sun and growth. The pagans celebrated this day as Ostara, and here is where the symbolism of the hare or easter rabbit comes in- the goddess Ostara has a head of a hare and the hare itself represents the rebirth of spring.
The month of march ends with Mothers day and the start of British summer time, when the clocks jump forward an hour. This gives us one hour more light in the evenings and one less in the morning. This concept of changing the time came from a man called William Willett, it is said he arrived on the idea when he was out riding one morning and noticed most of the curtains were still drawn. He felt this was a waste of daylight and actually wrote a pamphlet of the same name. He never lived to see British summer time put into place but the idea did catch on and now on the 27th Match the clocks will go forward, extending our evenings.
How do you celebrate March? Let me know in the comments below!