I can think of no other week in the calendar where one has an opportunity to celebrate three distinctive observance days. Again, in the same week, we just experienced.
First, we observe March 14, or better to think 314, it is Pi day. The following day, March 15, although it does not receive considerable attention is The Ides of March. Lastly, everyone is familiar with St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Pi, the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and π, the mathematical constant that refers to the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Sometimes Pi is written as 22/7, dividing it out you obtain 3.14159.
It was in 1998 that Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco created π Day. This new day of recognition and observance began by people walking around a circular space and then enjoying eating fruit pies. Then too, it is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, a great way to celebrate a great scientist and promote mathematics.
The Ides of March falls on the fifteenth. It is the day that Julius Caesar was killed by his fellow politicians. March, in the oldest Roman calendars, was the first month of the year. Often too, the calendar was timed to reflect the first full moon of the year.
Several religious observances occurred in March: a celebration of the new year, a tribute to Jupiter, their supreme God, the Feast of Anna Perenna celebrated by the ordinary people with food, drinking, and revelry, and Mamuralia or The Feast of the Scapegoat. Mamuralia dressed an old man in animal skins and driving him out of the city, thus the term scapegoat. It is also out with the old and in with the new.
Finally, the most famous day of the week, St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick, a fifth-century Christian missionary known for bringing the Christian faith to Ireland. While a teenager, he was captured by pirates and worked as a farm hand for six years before he managed to escape. Returning to his family, he worked as a cleric and later served as a bishop.
We celebrate March 17th as the date of his death. Diocese in Ireland looks at St. Patrick’s day as a day of solemnity and a Day of Obligation. Churches throughout the world, including several denominations, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a Feast Day. Rest assured, many in America do just that.
So what does one make of all these observances in a span of one week?
Acknowledge science and mathematics, and especially those who have done and continue to make significant advances that we all may lead better lives. There are those who have made advances in medicine, in physics, in engineering, in agriculture, in computer technology, and math. Celebrate by eating pie! How about eating anything that is round, pizza pies, fruit pies, cheesecake, and cookies.
Wherever we work, we work with other people. Let us learn to be mindful of them, observant, and thoughtful. But never assume, become apathetic, or gullible and naïve. Be observant, be diligent, and be focused, lest you fall prey to being “assassinated” like Julius Caesar.
Be grateful for your faith, your spirituality, whatever it may be. Know that someone taught it and often made sacrifices so that you may have opportunities to grow in faith and spirit. And for that, celebrate!
Celebrate life for all the good that it brings you, teaches you, and provides you. Reflect on how much the middle of March can teach you and then too, know that spring is just around the bend.