Those who place their faith in folklore will be Spring is in the air this year because, according to the saying, if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb.

The boffins at the meteorological office don’t quite agree, whilst their long-range forecast predicts temperatures above average for March, there is also the clouded comment that “snow is likely to become shorter-lived through the second half of the month.”

It’s all part and parcel of the complicated nature of March which through history has been a time of great change and unpredictability.

For many centuries there were just ten months of the year and March was the first, named after Mars the God of War and symbolising a fresh start…usually to battles that had been halted due to winter.

February was therefore the last month of the year and to align with the earth’s rotation every fourth year became a leap year with an extra day added.

Then Julius Caesar came along. He wanted to honour himself and his successor Augustus with a month, and a sunny, 31-day month at that. So, July and August were added in the middle. It explains why September, October, November and December are now two months later than their names suggest.

January became the first month of the year, named after Janus a two headed God that could look to the past and the future, poor old March was bumped down to third.

And so it was for over one thousand years until people started to notice that the world was getting ahead of itself. Adding one day every four years was too much. So, in 1582, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar, keeping with 12 months but aligning more accurately with the earth’s rotation by declaring that any year divisible by 400 would now no longer have an extra day.

It wasn’t until 1752 that Britain agreed to adopt this Gregorian calendar and to make up for all those additional leap days in the preceding two centuries it had to “lose” 11 days, which is why people went to bed that year on September 2 and woke up on September 14 – unlucky if your birthday fell between those dates, fortunate if you were serving a prison term.

The Ides of March – which falls on the first full moon of the month – was the date when all debts had to be settled and, infamously, the date on which Julius Ceasar was murdered by senators.

Thankfully, March offers more positive landmarks these days – it is National Women’s History Month with International Women’s Day falling on March 8 and Mothering Sunday on March 27.

For foodies there is plenty to whet the appetite, crabmeat, cereal, meatballs and even corned beef and cabbage all have their celebration days this month.

Perhaps the most significant culinary date is March 6 – national frozen food day – which recognises the difference the ability to chill food has made to everyday life. Imagine losing the convenience of the weekly shop, and life without ice cream at home and frozen chips – and especially the SK range of delicious food from around the world, including our aptly named spring rolls.

But let us end our whirlwind tour of March on an educational note because the joy of reading literally comes to the fore on March 3 which is World Book Day. Not to be outdone, World Maths Day takes place on March 23, although we suspect schools across the UK won’t be inviting their children to come in dressed as their favourite maths character!

About Oliver Parkinson
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.