Watch Out for the Ides of March

Wondering what could happen on the 15th of March? Or merely wondering why you need to Watch Out for the Ides of March? 

The Ides of March is a well-known day, made famous by William Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar. But the history of this day goes much further back in history than Shakespeare and didn’t always mean bad omens. 

Initially, it was simply a marking for the lunar phases, such as the full moon, that usually occurs between the 13th and the 15th of March. In fact, the Gregorian calendar used to mark March 15 as the start of a new calendar year due to the full moon phase that happens during this time. 

Now, people “Beware the Ides of March.”

Fool Moon - The Proud Italian

Who was Famously Killed on the Ides of March and How it Happened

As depicted in Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar was assassinated and thus began the Roman Empire’s fall. He was a Roman dictator, and his mentors and friends saw him as an ominous figure for the future; they believed he was growing too powerful. 

In his depiction of the tale, William Shakespeare writes, “Beware the Ides of March,” as a warning to Julius Caesar. Later, he would be stabbed by his friends and left with his last words, “Et tu, Brute?”

Why Should You Be Aware of the Ides of March?

As learned from Julius Caesar, the Ides of March carry a dark omen where anything horrible could happen at any moment. The day is now seen as cursed, and often people try to avoid anything that they are superstitious about. 

The day falls back to ancient Rome and the events that occurred on the Ides. 

Those who are superstitious are advised to be careful and often look out for the people around them during this time to ensure that their loved ones are safe and free from any “curses” or bad omens they might see. 

Julius Caesar statue in Rome - The Proud Italian

Any bad luck that befalls someone could potentially stay with them their whole lives if it happens on the Ides of March, as that is what happened to Roman emperor Julius Caesar. 

So, be careful, and watch your actions closely. 

10 Other Horrific Events in History That Happened on the Same Day

1. Raid on Southern England

In 1360, raping, pillaging, and murdering raged through the south of England. It was planned by French raiders who ran wild for 48 hours. It is said that the king of England at the time was raiding the French, and they wanted to get back at the English.

2. Cyclone

On the Ides of March, a Samoan Cyclone hit in 1889. It destroyed six warships and killed around 200 men. However, this historical event most likely created the ability to avoid war, as each warship was a show of the particular countries’ strength and power. 

Satellite view of the cyclone - The Proud Italian

3. Czar Nicholas II Abdicates

On the Ides in 1917, Czar Nicholas II of Russia turned in his abdication papers and ended a family reign of over 300 years. His family was then killed due to the Bolshevik rule after his abdication. The Ides may have been a warning to Czar Nicholas II that something horrible would come in his future. 

4. German Occupation

On the Ides of March in 1939, Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia and effectively drove it off the map. This was the year World War II began, and the atrocities continued over the course of six years. 

5. A Blizzard on the Great Plains

From just a little bit of snowfall in the evening, 60 people did not see their foreboding death in 1941. Because the coating of snow was so slight, people did not stop going out that evening. Suddenly the wind changed, and a blizzard was in their midst. 

Winter blizzard and trees in the field - The Proud Italian

6. Record Rainfall

On the small island of La Reunion, 73.62 inches of rain fell in the course of 24 hours––all on the Ides of March in 1952. Perhaps this is not the most frightening of the historical events, but it does make you stop and wonder: are the Ides of March truly a day to be reckoned with? 

7. NBC Cancels Show

The Ed Sullivan Show was a much-beloved show, which aired for 23 years on the NBC channel. On March 15, 1971, it aired for the last time. Many people were upset by this. It can most definitely be seen as an omen for the television world. 

8. Ozone Layer

In 1988, NASA announced that the Ozone Layer had disappeared three times faster than they had predicted over the Northern Hemisphere than ever before. This is an extremely large omen, as the Ozone Layer protects humans from the sun. 

9. SARS Disease

On the Ides of March in 2003, the World Health Organization declared a heightened global health alert. The disease was spreading in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Canada, and Singapore. 

SARS Disease, animated molecules - The Proud Italian

10. Coronavirus Spread

By the Ides of March in 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic had spread to all 50 states in the United States of America. This pandemic triggered lockdowns and continues to this day. The Coronavirus is still spreading rapidly today, and perhaps that was, in part, the fault of the Ides of March marking around the time that it was spread through the whole of the United States. 

Though some places are going back to normal, the United States continues to be under lockdown due to high case numbers. 

Perhaps the United States should have looked out for the Ides of March in 2020. 

How to Celebrate the Ides of March in Italy or as an Italian American

Italians can be superstitious. Because of this, it’s best to avoid any bad omens or signs on the Ides of March. 

Some Italian superstitions include seeing a black cat cross the street, sleeping with your feet toward the door, and looking inside a funeral car. If you are in the position of seeing or doing any of these things, you may want to take extra caution on this day to ensure that you will not accumulate any more bad omens that may stick with you. 

Black cat on the street - The Proud Italian

Instead, focus on things that will bring you good omens. The number 13 in Italy is extremely lucky, though seen as unlucky in many parts of the world. Another great prophecy is touching iron in order to bring yourself good luck. 

On the Ides of March, it is wise to watch yourself well and continue to bring good energy into the world if you are superstitious. 

Don’t Let the Ides Get You Down

Though it is famously seen as a day of bad omens and bad luck, this was not always a day where things went wrong. Initially, it was merely a sign of the year’s changing or changing the lunar cycle to a full moon. 

So, perhaps focusing on the original tradition is best if you are not superstitious. But, if you are, remember to “Beware the Ides of March.”