March was named by Romulus, in honour of his supposed father - Mars, the heathen God of War. Until .January and February were added to the calendar, the Romans made it the first month of the year, and it was not even reckoned as the third month by the English until 1752. "The Saxons," says Verstegan, "called the month Rhede Rethe-Monath, to denote its general boisterouaness of character, Rhede sigifying, in their interpretation, rough or rugged. Many antiquaries contend that, the month having been dedicated to the idol Rheda before the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity, the etymology of it thus given is more correct The name was afterwards changed to Lenet-Monat, or length month, because in this month the Length of the day begins to exceed that of the night. It has been said that Lenet signifies spring, and that therefore it was tailed spring month. As our Saxon ancestors observed the custom of fasting after they embraced Christianity, and as the period of the observance of this custom usually fell in the Lenet-Monat, it was called the Lenet fast, and by corruption the word Lenet became converted into Lent."
Symbol or Allegory of the Month. - A young man of a tawny colour and fierce aspect, with a helmet on his head, being in-tended for Mars, the God of War. In his right hand he holds a ram, typical of the sign of Aries, or the Ram, because the sun enters that constellation on the 20th of the month, when Spring commences. A basket of seeds hangs upon his left arm, the hand holding a bunch of almond blossoms, and resting upon a spade, allegorical of the preparation of the ground by the husbandman.
There are some proverbs relating to the month which are based upon its character, Thus it is sometimes said that "a bushel of March dust is worth a king's ransom;" and "a dry March never begs its bread." Roth these proverbs signify that a dry March is favourable to the agriculturist and gardener; and this is home out by another proverb, which says that "March grass never did good;" hence we infer that a wet March, which would be necessary tor the grass to grow so early, is prejudicial to the farmer and florist.
Our Calendar contains many days of observance in March. The 1st is called St. David's-dag. St. David is the patron saint of Welsh men. He was Archbishop of Miney, and died in 544, his remains being placed in the church of St. Andrew, and afterwards removed to Glastonbury Abbey. The custom of Welshmen wearing leeks in their hats on St. David's-day is said to owe its origin to their having gained a great victory over the Saxons, from whom they distinguished themselves by wearing leeks during the battle.
2nd. St. Chad was an English bishop, educated at the monastery of Lindis farne, and was fifth bishop of the Mercians and third bishop of Lichfield, where he died in 673, being buried with great pomp in the cathedral, his shrine costing upwards of £2,000 for decorations.
7th. Perpetua was a Roman saint, martyred in 205, by order of the Emperor Serverus.
17th. St. Patriek's-day. - St. Patrick is the tutelary saint of the Irish, who wear a bunch of trefoil, or shamrock, upon this day. Biographers do not agree with respect to the date and place of birth of Ireland's saint, Usher and Tillemont stating that he was born in the year 372, while Moore, in his "History of Ireland," states that he was born in the year 387. The same discrepancy occurs with regard to the date of his death, Usher fixing it on the 17th of March. 493; Tillemont, on the same day in 455, Nenius in 464. and Moore in 465. Most biographers maintain that St. Patrick was born in a village called Bonaven Tabernae, supposed to be the town of Kilpatrick, at the mouth of the Clyde, between Dumoarton and Glasgow; but Mr. Moore states that the saint was born in the neighbourhood of Boulogne in the ancient Armoric Britain, and that the Irish monarch, Nine of the Nine Hostages, having ravaged some of the maritime districts of Gaul in the year 403, St. Patrick was taken prisoner and carried to Ireland, where he was sold to a person residing in Antrim, who employed him to tend sheep. Having continued in this place for six years, he made his escape in a vessel bound for Gaul, and afterwards entered a monastery at Tours. It is said that he constantly dreamed that he was invited to return to Ireland in the name of its people, and accordingly he set sail for that purpose, and landed at Dublin about the year 422. His adventures upon landing; his conversion of Dicho, a pagan chieftain ; his performance of Divine service in a barn; his celebration of Easter, by lighting the Paschal fire on Easter-eve before the halls of Tara; his conversion of. multitudes of King Logaire's followers, and the destruction of the great Druidical god, are all points of interest in the life of this saint. St. Patrick erected several rude Christian churches, and occupied the see of Armagh, which was founded to organize his new system. The origin of the Irish wearing the shamrock on this day is said to be from St. Patrick having used some of this plant as an illustration of the Trinity, when he was endeavouring to convert the Irish, after his second landing, in 422.
21st. St. Benedict was born in Umbria, about 4S0, and sent to school at Rome. He founded the order of Monks of St. Benedict, and died 543, at the age of sixty-three, after having performed, according to the statements of his followers, a host of extraordinary wonders and cures.
25th. The Annunciation-day of the Virgin Mary, which is kept as a festival in the Church of England, in commemoration of the incarnation of our Saviour.