Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March are upon us!!

Do kids still study Shakespeare in high school? For that matter, so they study ancient history and know who Caesar was or do they just associate him with a casino in Vegas?
If your answer is "No" and you are among that younger generation who have no clue, the Ides of March is the name given to March 15th in the Roman calendar and probably referred to the day of the full moon. The 15th of May, July and October were also referred to as the Ides.

So, why does March stand out? The Ides of March gained fame as the date Julius Caesar was killed. On his way to the Theatre of Pompei (where he was killed) he stopped off to see a fortune teller (okay, they called them "seers" then). This psychic had previously warned him that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March. He gloated, "Well, the Ides of March are upon us," indicating nothing had happened. So there! But the seer responded with, "Ay, they have come but they are not gone." Before the night was over, Caesar died, stabbed 23 times. And so, the term the Ides of March has come to represent coming danger.

So much for the history lesson.

In our modern culture, the term is often used as a promotional phrase for everything from a reason to party in the local bars (like we need a special reason this close to St. Paddy's Day!!) and for clearance sales in the department stores. Some folks try to look like they are paying homage to history by conducting some sort of annual event.
Photo is taken from the Rome Hash House Harriers blog site
which incidentally boasts their self-proclaimed label as
"a drinking club with a running problem"

My favorite of these is the Hash House Harriers in Rome who celebrate each year with a toga run through the streets of Rome, winding up in the spot where Julius Caesar was killed. Yep, picture a fraternity toga party on the move! (The Hash House Harriers is an international group of non-competitive running, social and drinking clubs.)

For me, the 15th of March carries a whole different meaning. In my mind, it marks the point where we begin to really move into Spring. We rarely see snow after this date and usually we do start seeing some green sprouts breaking through the ground. I can see buds forming on the forsythia (although our ground is too soggy for me to get close enough to post a picture of these). This week, it seems the sun has come out and it actually feels Spring-like. I sat outside and simply inhaled the fresh air on Sunday. I watched the geese and ducks play at the edge of the pond. (Yes, that is an actual pond and not a puddle, although all that rain last week makes it hard to tell the difference!)

Well, it's sunny again today and I want to get out there and soak up some rays. Hope y'all are starting to see Spring in your near future, too. (Spring officially arrives on Monday!!!)

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