Springing Ahead

St. Patrick's Day, March 14th, honors the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland from the late fourth century. The snakes he's famous for driving from the island are believed to be a metaphor for his removal of pagan religious practices. It is said he converted many Druid warrior chiefs in Tara to Christianity as well as baptizing thousands of their subjects in "holy wells," which still bear an inscription of the saint's name today. The traditional practice of St. Patrick's Day begins with prayers for spiritual cleansing and an offering of prayers for missionaries around the globe, which is followed by a joyous celebration of song, dance and more.

March 11th finds ten bombs exploding on commuter trains during rush hour in Madrid, Spain. The terrorist attack is said to have been led by a man from Tunisia, Serhane ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, who takes his own life as well as the lives of four other suspects by detonating a bomb during a police raid just days after the attack.

In Libya, on March 25, British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with Qaddafi to join forces with the Libyan leader in the battle against terrorism. The meeting comes after almost 30 years of diplomatic isolation of Libya and in the wake of the nation's December announcement that it would surrender its nuclear arsenal.

On a lighter note, "Garden State" premieres on March 4th and stars Andrew Largeman as a depressed actor who discovers a charming girl named Sam, Natalie Portman, during an eye-opening weekend in New Jersey without his meds. HBO's Annual Comedy Festival also offers a host of comedy performances, panel sessions and film screenings. Panelists and performers include Larry David, Diane Keaton, Caroline Rhea, Barry Levinson and many others.

Here are some helpful links for March: 

  • HBO Comedy Festival - Offers program guides, local information, submission info, media links, ticket info photographs of performers and more.
  • St. Patrick's Day Customs & Traditions - Features details about the religious figure plus information about a variety of customs associated with the Irish holiday.
  • CNN: Massacre in Madrid - Popular news network offers updated information about the terrorist attack on the one-year anniversary of the crisis.