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Beware the Ides of March: 5 Foods Considered Unlucky Around the World

Beware the Ides of March: 5 Foods Considered Unlucky Around the World

Earlier in the year, we examined some foods that are considered lucky, hoping to bring good fortune for 2016. On the flip side, there are also numerous foods considered unlucky around the world (in specific countries or just in general), and thus should be avoided.

Although the new year has already begun, today we hit our first unlucky milestone, the Ides of March (March 15), which is actually a related time of year. You see, although March is the third month on both the current Gregorian and preceding Julian calendars, the original Roman one had March (Martius) as the first, and thus the traditional superstitions about the new year lasted for about the initial two weeks of the month.

In honor (or respect, or maybe fear) of the Ides, here are five foods to avoid if you’re looking for good luck in March, for the year, or just in general. Then again, even if things turn sour fortune-wise, you probably still won’t have it as bad as Julius Caesar did back in 44 B.C.E. — unless your colleagues and friends also suddenly decide to assassinate and overthrow you. In which case, I’d be on the lookout for any seers or fortune tellers who warn you about March 15. Best to err on the side of caution, right?

Bananas

It’s common knowledge that sailors and fisherman are generally quite superstitious (you would be too if you spent most of your life adrift in the middle of the ocean on a tiny vessel). The origins are uncertain — it may have involved a shipload of bacteria-filled bananas that allegedly killed an entire crew once, or simply anecdotal bad luck when one brings bananas onboard for meals — but the legend has somehow become widespread throughout time. Some fishing charters ban anything remotely close to bananas: banana muffins, Banana Republic clothing (for the fashionable fisherman), or Fruit of the Loom underwear (whose logo doesn’t even include a banana). With all this bad luck between the evil fruit and ships, it’s amazing that the Banana Boat brand hasn’t completely tanked.

Lobster

When lobsters are confronted by predators, they use their weird spider legs and plump, delicious tails to propel themselves backward to escape. As the new year and luck in general is all about looking forward, lobsters are seen as an unlucky food item and something that represents regrets or dwelling in the past.

Parsley

Parsley itself isn’t bad luck, but what you do with it could be. Parsley is not supposed to be brought from one home to another or one garden to another, as it typically does not transplant well, and attempting to do so is asking for misfortune. On the flip side, if parsley is planted and successfully grows, it is good luck for the gardener, especially if she is a pregnant woman. (Although in that case, she should probably take a load off, as it’s exhausting to garden for two.)

Poultry

Similar to lobsters and their backward movement, superstitious people often avoid eating chicken or turkey, too, as those animals scratch backward while looking for food. This means anyone who consumes the animals will be looking behind them all year, or will be forced to search the dirt for their food or success — but will only end up with chicken scratch. Also, although not very good at flying, the fact that poultry can do it a little bit is still seen as a bad omen, as one doesn’t want their luck to fly away either.

Sour Grapes

Nobody likes sour grapes (the food or the attitude), but this is especially true in Spanish culture, where it is traditional for Spaniards to consume 12 grapes in the first 12 seconds of the new year. If the task is successfully completed, good luck will come to the consumer; if they fail, it is seen as a sign of bad luck. Although, even if the challenge is accomplished, any grapes consumed that were sour will represent a bad month, based on their respective order. For example, if the third grape is sour, March will be unlucky. (Beware the vines of March!) This superstition was allegedly created by Spanish vineyard owners in the early twentieth century, who now have good luck at the start of every year because of the tradition.


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


Today’s post kicks off a week of “lucky posts” here at Poor Richard’s Almanac in honor of the Ides of March, an unlucky day for both Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic, and St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally associated with shamrocks, lucky charms, rainbows, pots of gold, and “the luck of the Irish.” As the week goes on, you’ll find posts about symbols of good and bad luck, amulets and talismans to ward off bad luck, actions that are considered to attract good or bad luck around the world, even foods that are considered lucky and unlucky. Today we’ll kick off with PRA’s official historian, Richard Saunders, posting on a couple of singularly unlucky days.

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk about the Ides of March. If you remember nothing else from being forced to read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at some point during your educational career, you probably recall the Soothsayer shouting “Beware the Ides of March!” at Caesar about a hundred times. (At least it seemed like that.) But what are the Ides of March, and is there any reason for us to be wary of them?

Actually, the Ides of March is not a them but an it: March 15th. “Ides” comes from the Latin Idus, and refers, according to Wikipedia, to a festival celebrating the Roman god of war, Mars, from whom the month of March and the planet Mars take their names. You’d think this would have been a lucky day for Caesar, one of history’s greatest generals and empire-builders. But his luck ran out on March 15, 44 B.C., when he was assassinated by a group of outraged Senators, including his trusted friend Brutus, leading to that other famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” (That’s, ahem, brootay, not brute, should you ever have the misfortune of being in Caesar’s position and needing to say the line yourself.)

Why were the Senators up in (literal) arms against Caesar, you ask? In a nutshell, because before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, a supposed bastion of virtue and honor with a governing Senate. (And yes, this was the ideal upon which our Founding Fathers here in America based their own government.) The Senators feared that Julius Caesar* had too much power and was planning to declare himself emperor, putting and end to the Republic. So they took a direct route to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately (for them), their efforts backfired. They succeeded in killing off Caesar, but set off a series of power plays that ultimately saw Caesar’s heir Augustus crowned emperor. The Roman Empire was born, and the rest is history.

But what does Caesar’s bad luck have to do with us? Why should we beware the Ides of March? Well, unless you live, as we do, in an area that often gets its worst snowstorm of the year about that time, there’s really no reason. But the same could be said of Friday the Thirteenth.

Friday the Thirteenth became identified as a date of ill-luck and misfortune back on Friday, October 13, 1307, when the immoral and rapacious King Phillipe IV of France demolished the powerful Order of the Knights Templar in a single day. (Admittedly, it took a while longer to completely destroy the Templars and seize all their assets for the Crown, but in effect the entire Order toppled on that single day.) At the time, the Templars were immensely wealthy and powerful, known as “the bankers of Europe” because they controlled so much of its wealth, and they operated with the blessings of the Pope. To annihilate them required a combination of factors, including a very weak Pope of French extraction—as it happened, a boyhood friend of the King—who was also more or less under house arrest in Avignon, France, as opposed to entrenched in Rome, and a series of very devious maneuvers including luring the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, into the King’s hands by asking him to be a pallbearer at his, Philippe’s, own sister’s funeral, then arresting him the following day (the 13th).

Now again, you may wonder what the fall of the Templars has to do with us, and again, the answer is nothing. Yes, it was dramatic and doubtless spread terror and feelings of vulnerability across Europe. But Caesar’s assassination was all that and more, since at the time, Rome was pretty much the center of the world.

So why do we still consider Friday the Thirteenth unlucky, and ignore the Ides of March? You tell me.

* If you think pronouncing Ides “EE-days” and Brute “BROO-tay” is bad, check out how the Romans of Caesar’s day pronounced his name: YOO-lee-OOS KY-sar. But then, poor Leonardo da Vinci’s name was pronounced by his contemporaries as “da Winky.”


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