Dear Kid,

March is National Nutrition Month. It is also National Frozen Food Month, National Peanut Month, and Red Cross Month, which makes me wonder who thinks of these things, because these are some downright odd combinations.

The guy's got a salad, a palace, a great ghost, a section, and probably a whole host of other things named after him. Et tu? DearKidLoveMom.comMarch is named for Mars, the Roman god of war, which (as far as I’m concerned) explains all the crazy (warring) weather during the month, but really (as it turns out) it’s because wars were often started (or renewed) in the spring. Mars was also the god of spring (see above comment), growth in nature (see above comment), fertility (spring fever), and the protector of cattle (I got nothing).

Today is the Ides of March. You might wonder why we care about such things. We don’t really, but I write about stuff no one cares about all the time, so today’s not really any different.

The Romans counted days the way we count years. They counted days in reference to points in the month. We count years in reference to the Olympics (this is the year of the Summer Olympics; last year was the year before the Summer Olympics, and so on).

The Romans counted back from the Nones, the Ides, and the Kalends. You might think these were always specific days, like Ides is always on the 15th. You’d be mistaken. The Nones shows up at the end-ish of the first week of the month, the Ides in the middle-ish of the month, and the Kalends at the first of the next month. The Ides only falls on the 15th in March, May, July, and October. (See? Learning things all the time, aren’t you?)

You’d probably like to know how these points got their names. It will probably not surprise you to know that it had to do with alcohol.

Raymond the Roman (drunkenly): ‘S goin’ t’ be a good mnthth
Rom the Roman (even more drunkenly): Nonshens.
RtR: Wha’ you shay?
RtR: Nones (snoring)
RtR: ‘Zactly

** ** **

Raymond the Roman (drunkenly): ‘S middle o’ th’ monthth
Rom the Roman (even more drunkenly): Yesssh
RtR: D’ya’ thinks is been a good mnth ssho far?
RrR: Idesay so
RtR: ‘Zactly

** ** **

Raymond the Roman (drunkenly): ‘S almost th’ monthth
Rom the Roman (even more drunkenly): Yesssh
RtR: Evry month’s gotta end; new one’s comin’
RrR: Ends
RtR: Look! There’s cows!
RtR: Cattle ends
RtR: ‘Zactly

Don’t you wish you were a history major?

Love, Mom