Time March-es on - Albuquerque Journal

Time March-es on

Cathryn Cunningham / Albuquerque Journal

A new month brings a new to-do list and March, with its blustery weather and onset of spring, brings calendar milestones each year. Here is a rundown of just a few:

St. Patrick’s Day

Irish or not, you likely have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick, who lived during the Fifth Century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at age 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.

In the centuries following Patrick’s death, believed to have been on March 17, 461, the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the best-known legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade did not take place in America. It was on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772, to honor the Irish patron saint.

Until the mid-19th century, most Irish immigrants in America were members of the Protestant middle class. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to 1 million poor and uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation. Despised by the American Protestant majority for their alien religious beliefs and unfamiliar accents, the immigrants had trouble finding even menial jobs.

The American Irish soon began to realize that their large and growing numbers endowed them with a political power that had yet to be exploited. They started to organize and their voting bloc, known as the “green machine,” became an important swing vote for political hopefuls.

Enjoying corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is not an Irish tradition. Historically, people in Ireland would enjoy Irish stew and soda bread, or pork and potatoes for the celebration.

Daylight Saving Time (DST)

DST is the practice of setting the clocks one hour ahead of standard time to make use of sunlight in the spring, summer and fall evenings.

Thunder Bay, Canada, was the first North American location to turn its clocks forward on July 1, 1908. Other locations in Canada soon followed. The practice spread during WWI to minimize the use of artificial lighting and save fuel for the war effort. Most of Europe returned to standard time after the war. Daylight Saving made a return in Europe with WWII.

Daylight Saving Time is used in over 70 countries worldwide, affecting over one billion people annually. In the United States, Hawaii and Arizona do not change their clocks. Bills have been considered in the N.M. Legislature, including this year, to eliminate the time change.

After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the United States’ DST schedule was revised several times throughout the years. From 1987 to 2006, the country observed DST for about seven months each year. The current schedule was introduced by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and has been followed since 2007.

On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act. But, for the bill to become law, allowing states to observe DST year-round, it must also be approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law by the president. This has not yet happened.

This year, DST begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12.

March 20, first day of spring

On this day, known as the vernal equinox – vernal translates to new and fresh, and equinox is derived from the Latin aequus, equal and nox, night – the sun’s rays cross directly over the Earth’s equator and provide nearly equal periods of day and night in both hemispheres, according to study.com. Our days of daylight have been growing slightly longer each day since the winter solstice.


Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer for Muslims, the followers of Islam. It is celebrated as the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims. Fasting is one of the five fundamental principles of Islam. Each day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset. They are also supposed to avoid impure thoughts and bad behavior.

Muslims break their daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends, and the end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s major holidays. Ramadan always falls on the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar. Ramadan 2023 starts on the evening of Wednesday, March 22, and lasts 30 days, ending at sundown on Thursday, April 20.

Sources: history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day; timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html; farmersalmanac.com/spring-equinox-first-day-spring; and history.com/topics/holidays/ramadan.

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