Transition month between winter and spring, March and its climate conditions are often uncertain with days that are still cold and rainy and others that seem harbingers of summer. This is the usual weather profile of March throughout Italy.
The first important date to remember is 6 March, dedicated to energy saving. It is meant to encourage citizen awareness regarding lowering energy consumption and to promote green living with flowers and vegetation of every kind planted in various areas of the city or even in people’s homes. This initiative is called M’illumino di meno (I use less light), and has become a regular event. It was started in 2005 by a radio transmission of RAI called Caterpillar and many municipalities including Perugia support this campaign.
Then follows International Women’s Day on 8 March when various initiatives highlight the condition of women and their rights. The symbol of this day is a sprig of mimosa given to women as a gift, mimosa that dots the streets just about everywhere with a beautiful bright yellow. And even at dinner, there is often a delicious slice of torta mimosa made from sponge cake. Quite often that evening, women go out to dinner with other female friends, so it is not unusual to see many of all ages sharing large tables at a restaurant or pizzeria.
19 March though, feast of Saint Joseph, is Fathers’ Day. In Central Italy, people eat sweet rice fritters while Neapolitan cuisine dictates cream-filled zeppole (a kind of doughnut). Eating deep-fried sweets on this day in the very midst of Lent takes one back for a moment to the abundance of Carnival.
The month moves inexorably to its close, passing through the spring equinox that falls on 20 March this year, while on 29 March we return to Daylight Savings Time. From that day forward, the long hours of light will brighten our season and we will finally find winter behind us.