By Emmy Serviss / Boston
Whilst many a basketball fan looks forward to March Madness for some good old-fashioned sports betting, I wouldn’t know a three-pointer from a Pointer Sister. If there are others out there who don’t follow sports, but would also like to have something to celebrate in March, might I suggest the following holidays?
March 14th – Pi(e) Day
For those who are lactose intolerant and think cake is overrated, this day is for you! The 14th day of the third month of year (or 3.14) has been affectionately dubbed as “Pi(e) Day.” You could celebrate in a few different ways.
The obvious (and most delicious) way to celebrate would be to indulge in some pie! You could go fruity with a tangy key lime, creamy banana, or classic apple pie. You could go decadent with a chocolate mousse, pecan, or Boston cream pie. Hell, you could even go savory with a pizza, shepherd’s or chicken pot pie. Pro tip: pies always taste better with a homemade crust!
Pecan and apple pies baked by the author
The second way to celebrate is to bask in all the nerdy math glory of the arrival of the date 3.14 – the first three digits of Pi. In fact, mathematical enthusiasts had even more to celebrate 7 years ago, since that Pi(e) Day date of 3.14.15 was the first five digits of Pi! You could also impress and/or annoy your friends by memorizing and reciting as many digits as Pi as possible. There are over a million digits of Pi, so memorizing the entire thing seems just a smidge unrealistic, to say the least.
In fact, according to the Pi World Ranking List, the current reigning Pi Champ is Suresh Kumar Sharma from India, who in 2015 recited over 70,000 digits of Pi. Actually, he recited 70,030 digits of Pi, and those extra 30 digits were enough to unseat the previous reigning champ. Nonetheless, reciting anything past 3.14 is impressive in my book. I can memorize an entire play to perform but memorizing anything longer than a phone number is beyond daunting.
If the first two options are too much work, you could always celebrate Pi(e) day with a double feature of Pi and The Life of Pi. I haven’t seen either movie, but I’m a supportive of any tiger that doesn’t involve the Tiger King.
March 15th – The Ides of March
Maybe this holiday isn’t one to celebrate, but to acknowledge. Most people will tell you that March 15th is the day that a soothsayer told Julius Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March,” and the Roman leader was later assassinated during a Senate meeting. Ever since then, the day has had an ominous reputation.
Maybe there’s something to the superstition. After all, Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15th in 1939. That’s pretty bad. But some good things have also happened on the day! Maine entered the Union, Rolls-Royce was founded, and The Godfather premiered on the big screen. So the Ides of March can’t be ALL bad, right?
Superstition aside, Ides, Kalends and Nones were really just an old way of marking the date in relation to the lunar phases. Ides simply meant the new moon, which was usually around the 13th – 15th of the month. Julius’ death was just a crummy coincidence. (Thanks, Shakespeare!)
If you’d like to pay respects to the Ides of March without a stereotypical toga party, you could pour a glass of wine to honor the late Julius Caesar, check out a documentary on the Roman Empire, or call your local senator. (A phone call is a tad more polite than a knife to the back.)
March 16th – My Boston Anniversary
Okay, so this holiday is a personal one. But 11 years ago, this was the day that I packed up my bags (and two cats) and boarded a plane to Boston. I had spent seven years on the West Coast, split between Los Angeles and Portland, and it was time to come back home. Well, home-adjacent anyway.
I grew up on Long Island, about an hour outside of NYC. But moving back to the East Coast with no job and a dwindling savings account did not mesh with New York prices. So when my good friend Jed said he needed a roommate in Boston, it seemed like fate.
Jed and the author in Los Angeles, 2005 (left) and in Boston, 2011 (right)
March 16th is my day to reflect. I think about who I used to be, who I am, and who I’m aspiring to become. I think about how lucky I am to be where I am in my life, and how grateful I am to Jed for bringing me to Boston. I think about all the things that must have gone right in my life for me to be where I am today.
So while March 16th may not have any particular significance for you, I will gladly share the day with all of you this year. Spend the day with yourself and use it for some quiet self-reflection.
March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day
This is probably the holiday that needs the least explaining, but I’m going to anyway. Originally, St. Patrick’s Day was a day to observe the death of the actual patron saint of Ireland – you guessed it – St. Patrick. He helped to convert the Irish to Christianity and built monasteries, churches and schools, but more well-known are the legends of how he supposedly drove the snakes out of Ireland and used a shamrock to explain the holy Trinity.
Over the years, the day evolved into a day of celebrating Irish heritage and culture, especially in my current city of Boston. And then, at some point, the day became one full of day-drinking and dyeing everything green. I remember, as a child, knowing St. Patrick’s Day was just around the corner when my mom brought home green bagels from the local bakery.
Personally, I’m not a big drinker, so I usually observe St. Patrick’s Day from the sidelines. But whether you spend the day dining on corned beef and cabbage, sipping on a Shamrock Shake or drinking a pint at the pub–enjoy yourself this week!
But seriously, please drink responsibly.
And maybe plan to take the day off work on Friday.
Emmy Serviss is a Boston-based writer, actor and video editor. Once it is safe to return to live theater, you can find her performing with ComedySportz Boston and the sketch group SUZZY. When not on the stage, Emmy enjoys indulging in her new pandemic hobbies, laughing way too loudly and counting the days until Halloween.