Myth Trivia: Marching into March Madness

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Mars , God of War, March namesake

CHARLOTTE, NC, March 1, 2017 – It’s the first day of March and that means it is time for College Basketball Month, better known as “March Madness.” It wasn’t so very long ago that the college hoops season actually did end in March, but now it’s an April championship. No matter.

After all the baseball World Series is now holding auditions for “Mr. November.”

There’s plenty of other “stuff” to talk about in March, however, so today’s trivia explores some of the interesting things that have happened during the month.

Originally March was the first month of the Roman calendar and was named after the god of war, Mars. Mars was also the guardian of agriculture and an ancestor of the Roman people themselves because of his sons, the mythical founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

Romulus and Remus with their wolf mother

The Latin word Martius is the derivation for “Mars.” Martius’ month was the beginning of the season of farming and also of warfare with festivals held in his honor throughout the month.

It is believed that Martius possibly remained the first month of the Roman calendar as late as 153 BC, however when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1752, January 1st has represented the first day of the year.


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Going all the way back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony of Salem in 1692, March 1 became linked with the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials when Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and an Indian slave from Barbados named Tituba were put on trial their evil dealings with the devil. In total, 19 innocent men and women were killed as a result of more than a year of paranoia.

Susannah Martin and the Salem Witch Trials of 1692

In total, 19 innocent men and women were killed as a result of more than a year of paranoia.

Believe it or not, on March 2, 1807, nearly 60 years before the end of the Civil War, the United States Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States…from any foreign kingdom, place or country.”

America’s first national park was born on March 1, 1872, when congress turned 1,221,773 acres of public land into Yellowstone National Park. Now part of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone spans nearly 3,500 square miles.

Fast forward two decades into the 20th century when Harry Houdini was awarded a patent in 1921 for his invention of a Safety Diver suit so that he could perform his magical escapes under water.

Houdini’s diving suit patent

Just 11 years later, American aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son was kidnapped from the family mansion in Hopewell, New Jersey on March 1, 1932 and
History’s best-known ape, “King Kong,” made his debut at Radio City Music Hall on March 2, 1937. Since then Kong has had almost as many incarnations as Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula.

Since then Kong has had almost as many incarnations as Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula.

Some readers may recall the telecast of the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll on the first of March 1954. Named Castle Bravo, the explosion was about 1,000 times more powerful than those used to end World War II in Japan, but, oddly enough, today it only ranks fifth among the largest man-made explosions in history.


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By March of 1961, President John F. Kennedy had issued a proclamation establishing the Peace Corps.

President John F. Kennedy

Since March is basketball month, we should make mention that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in an NBA game on March 2, 1962 as Philadelphia beat the New York Knicks, 169-147. Attendance was only about 6,000.

While rail technology continues to advance more than 150 years after its inception, the Concorde SST Supersonic jet aircraft came and went in a span of just 34 years.

The prototype 001, made its first flight from Toulouse airport in France in March of 1969.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. In March, 1978 silent film star Charlie Chaplin’s body was stolen from a cemetery in Vevey, Switzerland near Lausanne. The grave robbers were arrested a few weeks later and the body was recovered.

Oona and Charlie Chaplin’s final resting place | Image courtesy of FindAGrave.com

Speaking of Switzerland, the Swatch watch was introduced on March 1, 1983.

And on a happy note, on March 2, 1990 Nelson Mandela was elected deputy President of the African National Congress.

So far, politics aside, the 21st century has been rather quiet, so while you’re waiting for the Final Four to get underway, strap on your Chuck Taylor’s and start filling in your brackets.

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Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of Bob’s journeys with ALS and his journeys around the world

Editors Note:  Please support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up

Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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