British Traditions > March

The month of March takes its name from Mars the Roman God of War. Later this month was known by the Anglo-Saxons as 'Hyldmonath' (the windy or stormy month).

St. David's Day - 1st March

St. David
St David is the patron saint of Wales and traditionally, if a farmer failed to get his land ploughed by this date, all his neighbours would go to his farm and help him to get the job finished. The men brought their ploughs and oxen and the women brought food often including leeks to cook and feed everyone with. Leeks would have been one of the few vegetables available at this time of year and interestingly are one of the national emblems of Wales.

St Benedict's Day - March 21st

March the 21st is the first day of spring and St Benedict's Day. On this day in A.D. 664 the synod of Whitby met to decide how to determine when Easter would fall.


Easter Eggs
Easter day is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the 21st March. The earliest possible date for Easter Day is 22nd March and the latest is the 25th April.

The 40 days before Easter Day are known as Lent a time of fast and abstinence.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent when ashes were blessed in church as a reminder that all men, as sinners, must return to ashes.

Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. The word Maundy comes from the Latin mandere which means to command. This refers to Christ's command to his disciples to love their fellow man. He demonstrated this to them by washing their feet. Up until the reign of James II English monarchs washed the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday. They would wash the feet of as many people as the years of their reign. Since James II's time monarchs have distributed money to the poor on Maundy Thursday and nowadays special Maundy Money is given to a chosen few elderly folk who are deemed to have served their community.

Shear Thursday was traditionally another name for Maundy Thursday as on this day men would get their hair and beards trimmed having let it grow during Lent.

Good Friday is the day on which Christ was crucified. In more respectful times no newspapers were printed on this day. We still remember Good Friday with Hot Cross Buns although the cross on them is more likely to be of Celtic rather than Christian origin. These buns were thought to have medicinal if not magical powers because of the holiness of the day on which they were baked.

Lady Day - March 25th

In the church calendar March the 25th is known as Lady Day. It was the old first day of the legal year before the calendar changes in 1752. March the 25th is called Lady Day because it celebrates the feast of the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin when
the Virgin Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of God. As this was the first day of the legal year, rents were due and tenancies were renewed or commenced. It was believed that if Good friday or Easter Sunday fell on Lady Day then a antional disaster would occur within a year.

If Our Lord falls in Our Lady's lap,
England will meet with a great mishap.