The World Day of Prayer is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March. This holiday is the largest ecumenical movement in the world organized and led by women, aiming to bring together women of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common Day of Prayer. Mary Ellen James, the wife of a Presbyterian minister in New York and the mother of seven children, called for a day of prayer in 1887, simply reacting, as a Christian, to the society in which she lived. She was aware of the problems faced by many women around her, particularly new immigrants to America - the awful slums with their poverty, unemployment, poor housing, lack of health or educational facilities - she felt something had to be done. Two years later, two Baptists called together a Day of Prayer for the World Mission. The Day of Prayer initiated by these two women expanded to neighboring countries, then on to Europe and other continents. Since 1927 the day is known as the World Day of Prayer.
Mardis Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," often falls in March, and is celebrated throughout the world in lavish, often raucous festivals and parades. But its roots may lie in pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, eventually included in the Christian calendar as the "last hurrah" before the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras became a holiday in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII placed it on his Gregorian calendar on the day before Ash Wednesday. In some countries Mardi Gras is called "Shrove Tuesday" after the term shrive, which means "to confess." This refers to the unofficial custom of going to confession on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as a way of shedding sin and guilt before the spiritual journey of Lent. “Carnival,” another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities, comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh."
National Quilting Day, held annually on the third Saturday of March, celebrates fabulous quilts and those who make them. This is a day to recognize and appreciate quiltmakers, their skill and beautiful results. The National Quilting Association started National Quilting Day in 1991, at the 22nd Annual Quilting Show in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and is held annually on the last Saturday of March, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Earth hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights.
March is a month when we look for and forward to time spent outdoors, the surprise of blossoming wildflowers and warm, sunny spring days. May your spring be filled with the joys of simplicity and the balance of a simple lifestyle.