March 2021 - Celebrating Global Traditions
Updated: Apr 1
Did you know March is named after the Roman God Mars? So, it’s fitting to start off this month's letter by acknowledging the tremendous accomplishments of the Perseverance Team, a group of scientists from across the globe which successfully landed the aptly named Perseverance Rover on Mars last month! I hope everyone continues to persevere through this pandemic.
St. David's Day
March 1st is St David’s Day in Wales! St David, the Patron Saint of the Welsh and the Cathedral in his name, in the village of the same name attracts pilgrims from around the world each year! Why would a small village in Wales attract such global attention you ask? Well, Pope Calixtus II decreed that two pilgrimages to St David’s would equate to one pilgrimage to Rome!
Night of the Witches
March 6th starts the month off on a mystical foot with the Night of the Witches (Noche de Brujas), celebrated in Catemaco, Mexico. Catemaco is considered Mexico’s witchcraft capital and the first Friday of March kicks off this weekend of witchcraft and sorcery!
International Women's Day
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a celebration of the global commitment to build a gender equal world. This year, the theme is Choose to Challenge – and my challenge to all of you is to figure out ways to celebrate this day with your employees and customers, celebrating women’s achievements and re-committing to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
Isra and Mi'raj
March 10th observes Isra and Mi'raj, marking the night that Allah took Mohammad on a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to heaven. Some Muslims celebrate this event by offering optional prayers during this night or by illuminating cities with electric lights and candles. Worshippers gather into mosques and share the story of Mohammad's journey.
March 14th or 3.14th is one of my favorite days of the year and always celebrated with a delicious Pie! The holiday, of course, has nothing to do with Pie (though every day is a good day for Pie). Pi Day celebrates our favorite irrational constant 3.1415926… – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
March 15 First Full Moon
Beware March 15th just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? But the Ides of March mark the first full moon of March and a symbolic pivot to the spring. This day gained notoriety as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC.
The Fallas is a traditional celebration held annually in commemoration of St Joseph in the city of Valencia, Spain. The main celebration is from March 15–19 but it’s part of an entire month of sleepless nights, firecrackers, pyrotechnics, bonfires and fireworks! And it’s Spain – so of course there’s delicious street food and celebrations throughout the month!
St. Patrick's Day
March 17th means St Patrick’s Day to every person of Irish descent and those that just like drinking and wearing green. This holiday observes of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking and a whole lot of green.
March 20th celebrates the Vernal Equinox as one of two moments in the year when the Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length; For many, this is just a casual recognition of a change in season. In Japan, it’s an important celebration. The holiday was originally a time to visit loved ones' grave sites and pay homage to the ancestors. Today Shunbun no Hi is a national holiday and the majority of Japanese will have the day off work to celebrate with their families or return to their homes where they were raised. The day is celebrated to bring in the spring season and to appreciate the nature blooming after a long winter.
March 25-26 in Bali is a Day of Silence, Nyepi Day. Once a year, the island of Bali completely shuts down to pray for the purification of humanity, earth and the universe. Every shop is closed and there isn't a car or motorbike to be seen on the usually bustling streets. The lead-up to Nyepi includes the colorful Malesti parades and a parade of giant papier-mâché demons on the Eve of this special day.
March 28-29 is an amazing holiday or Holi Day! This popular and ancient Hindu Festival is also known as the "festival of colors", signifying the triumph of good over evil. Holi celebrations start on the night before with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king, Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The next morning includes a free-for-all festival of colors, where people smear each other with colored powder and drench each other with water. Anyone and everyone are fair game; friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders.
March 28th is Palm Sunday this year, the beginning of the Christian Holy week leading up to Easter in early April. A traditional Palm Sunday feast commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and includes the blessing and distribution of Palm branches. According to tradition, these palm branches are then burned and used as ashes for the next year’s Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent.
World Backup Day
March 31st is the final day of this month – and did you know it’s also World Backup Day? I’m not sure how much longer this day will need to exist, but for those of you still not automatically backing up your important files to the cloud every day, pull out those floppy disks and a nice bottle of wine and celebrate Backup Day!