March 1 – the original start of the Roman Calendar

March 1 is an important day – not only are you required to say “White Rabbits” before you speak to anyone else on the day, to ensure good luck for the rest of the year, but March 1 was also the original start of the year in the Roman calendar.

It is not known when the New Year was changed to January 1 in the Roman Empire – the Julian calendar was reformed by Julius Caesar in 46BC and this is when the change might have taken place. It is believed January was chosen because the god Janus looks both ways – ie at the old year passing and the new year approaching.

March 1 is also St David’s Day – St David resisted the Norman invasion of the lands that form Wales and was a considered a saint as a result.

As for white rabbits, the origins of this are varied – some people say it should be said at the start of every month with an R in the name; others at the start of every month for good luck. It would seem to be a throwback to the old Roman calendar – or maybe because March is when rabbits start popping their heads up out of their burrows after winter.

March 1 is also the start of spring for meteorologists – even though the weather might not agree!

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Buon viaggio!







Featured image: Vittorio Emanuele II monument, which stands on Capitoline Hill overlooking the Forum. Vittorio Emanuele II was the first king of a unified Italy. The monument was designed at the end of the 19th century and was completed in 1935. It is constructed from white marble and was controversial because of its site occupying a large expanse of the ancient Capitoline Hill.

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