Ides of March: is bad luck in store?

Emily Levine, News Editor

With no days off from school, March can feel like the longest month of the year.  Most students often think that since we don’t have any breaks this month, there must not be any important holidays throughout the month.  Well here’s one you might not have heard of: The Ides of March.

The Ides of March is an ancient Roman holiday that is celebrated every year on March 15th.  Originating in Rome, the day was enthusiastically celebrated by the common people with drinking, revelry (large, noisy parties), picnics, and religious ceremonies.  This included beating an old man dressed head-to-toe in animal skins and then driving him from the city.  This was done to represent the expulsion of the old year and to introduce a new one unmarked by any sins.

The holiday’s name originates from the method the Romans used to write dates.  Contrary to today when we number our days from the first of the month to the last, the ancient Romans counted back from three points of the month: the Nones, which fell on the fifth or seventh, the Ides, either the 13th or 15th, and Kalends, the first of the succeeding month.

The Ides were determined by the full moon, emphasizing the lunar origin of the Roman calendar.  On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March were the first full moon of the new year.

In 44 B.C., the holiday’s meaning changed.  Rather than being known for its celebrations, the modern world knows it as the date when Julius Caesar was assassinated, marking the end of the crisis in the Roman Republic where political instability and social unrest thrived.

“Even though I am fascinated with the history of ancient Rome, I do not believe that I will have bad luck on the Ides of March,” said senior Adam Jackman.

As a result of this infamous event, many artists, writers, and directors began adapting stories recalling the stabbing by Brutus in the Roman senate, including William Shakespeare’s iconic rendition called Julius Caesar.

The Ides of March is now considered a “cursed day” by superficial individuals since the date has since been marked by the start of the second Russian Revolution, a record rainfall in 1952, the depleting ozone layer discovered in 1988, and, most recently, a new global health scare of the disease SARS in 2003.

If there’s one thing to be learned about this infamous holiday, it’s that if someone tells you to watch out for the Ides of March curse this March 15th, you should listen.

“I do not believe I will have bad luck; Josh Gitman never has bad luck,” said senior Josh Gitman.