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Ideas / Events / March
Things to do in the UK in March 2014

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Introduction
March is the start of spring. Days are getting longer and warmer, and daffodils and other flowers are starting to bloom. You may be able to see something of Welsh and Irish culture this month, as each country celebrate its patron saint (Wales: St David, Ireland: St Patrick). Rugby's "Six Nations Championship" (between England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy) continues, with the final games this month. "Summer time" starts at the end of March: you must remember to change your watches and clocks. On Mother's Day people in the UK treat their mothers. If you plan to go to the major summer outdoor rock festivals, now is the time that many of the tickets start to go on sale.

Sat 1 Mar -
Sun 2 Mar 2014
Barbican Weekender, London
Free event at the Barbican Centre. See: http://www.barbican.org.uk/weekender

Sat 1 Mar 2014 St David's Day, Wales
Saint David's Day is the traditional day for Welsh people. Saint David is the "patron saint" of Wales. He was a member of the Celtic church and died on 1st March 589 A.D. There will be events in many towns in Wales, and Welsh communities in other parts of the UK will also gather together in pubs, churches or other places. There is a parade in Cardiff: http://www.stdavidsday.org/stdavid.
For more details, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_David's_Day.
* Basic introduction to Wales: Britain/Countries/Wales
* Photos of Wales: Travel/Tours/Wales


Daffodils
in bloom

St David's Day:
Traditional Welsh dress

Sat 1 Mar 2014 TNT Magazine Travel Show, London
Fair in the Business Design Centre in Islington (nearest Tube: Angel) providing information to people who want to travel in the UK, Europe or around the world. You can visit the stalls of tour and travel companies (some offer competitions or special discounts), and you can attend seminars on a variety of travel-related topics. For details, see: http://march-2014.tnttravelshow.com
* Information about travel in/from the UK: Travel/Tours

Sat 1 Mar 2014 UK University Fair, London
University fair for international students in London. See: http://www.ukunifair.co.uk

Sun 2 Mar 2014 Maslenitsa, London
A free event based on the Russian spring festival, featuring Russian music, dance, theatre and food/drink. In 2014 it will take place in Trafalgar Square.
See: http://www.maslenitsa.co.uk


Lady Maslenitsa (mascot of the Maslenitsa celebration)

Russian folk singers

Tue 4 Mar 2014 Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), UK
Historically, on Shrove Tuesday Christians confessed their sins and asked to be forgiven for them (this was known as "shriving"). It is the day before the period known as Lent, when Christians traditionally did not eat fatty foods (for example: meat, fish, eggs and milk) for 40 days until Palm Sunday, which is a week before Easter Sunday. Families had a feast on this day to eat those foods which could not be kept for 40 days: eggs and milk were used by adding flour and frying them to make pancakes. This tradition is still kept by many families. The popular name for Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day. In France the day is called Mardi Gras, which means "Fat Tuesday". For more information, see here.

Tue 4 Mar 2014 Pancake Races, UK
About 500 years ago, a woman in the town on Olney in Buckinghamshire was cooking her pancakes at home when she heard the bell calling her to church to make her confessions. She ran out of her house and rushed to church, still holding her frying pan and wearing her apron, tossing the pancakes into the air to stop them from burning. This became famous, starting a tradition known as pancake racing - people dress up with aprons, hold frying pans and race against each other. Pancake races are usually small events organised by local communities, and are often used to raise money for charity. A race still takes place each year in Olney - since 1950 there has been a friendly competition with the town of Liberal in Kansas, USA to see which of the towns can produce the fastest racer.
* Photos from the Olney Pancake Race: Ideas/Album/Olney-Pancake-Race

Some of the pancake races in London are as follows:
- Parliamentary Pancake Race: Pancake races at about 10am - 10:30am between teams from the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Press. The location is in Victoria Tower Gardens, on the south side of the Houses of Parliament (nearest Tube: Westminster; map). See: http://golondon.about.com/od/februaryannualevents/ss/pancake_day_5.htm
- Poulters’ Company Pancake Race: races from about 11:30am - 1pm in Guildhall Yard (in front of London's Guildhall in the City of London; nearest Tube: St Paul's, Bank or Mansion House; map). The contest is between teams representing each of the traditional livery companies (trade associations) and raises money for the Lord Mayor's chosen charity. See: http://www.poulters.org.uk
- Better Bankside Pancake Race: event from 12 noon - 2pm (races start at 12:30pm), including races between teams from Bankside businesses. The location is Borough Market (nearest Tube: London Bridge). See: http://www.betterbankside.co.uk/events/4th-march-better-bankside-annual-charity-pancake-day-race
- Great Spitalfields Pancake Race: race along Dray Walk at the Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL starting at 12:30pm (Tube: Aldgate East or Shoreditch; map). For details, see: http://www.alternativearts.co.uk/events
* Photos from pancake races in London: Ideas/Album/PancakeRace


Pancake Races

Tossing a pancake

Wed 5 Mar 2014 Ash Wednesday, UK
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 40-day period known as Lent (the 40 days - excluding Sundays - before Easter Sunday). In Christian churches there are services in which ashes are used to mark a cross on people's foreheads. Some Christians stop eating some type of food during Lent, and use the period for religious thought. For more information, see here.

Thu 6 Mar -
Sun 9 Mar 2014
Crufts, Birmingham
A famous annual British dog show which started in 1928. It is held at the NEC in Birmingham (nearest train station: Birmingham International). The "Best in Show" award is presented on the final day (Sunday). See: http://www.crufts.org.uk.
* Photos from this event: Ideas/Album/Crufts

(c) The Kennel Club
Crufts dog show
(c) The Kennel Club
Best In Show

Fri 7 Mar -
Sun 16 Mar 2014
Paralympic Winter Games, Sochi (Russia)
The sports are: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Wheelchair Curling
See: http://www.sochi2014.com/en

Sat 8 Mar 2014 International Women's Day, worldwide
International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
There are many related events in the UK, including the Women of the World festival at the Southbank Centre in London: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/women-of-the-world
See: http://www.internationalwomensday.com

Sat 8 Mar -
Sun 9 Mar 2014
Six Nations Championship, UK/France/Italy
International rugby competition (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy).
The games are (UK kick-off times shown):
Saturday: 2:30pm Ireland vs Italy ; 5:00pm Scotland vs France
Sunday: 3:00pm England vs Wales
* Rugby in the UK: Life/Sport/Rugby
* Photos from a visit to a Six Nations game: Ideas/Album/SixNations

Mon 10 Mar 2014 Commonwealth Day, UK & other Commonwealth countries
Commonwealth Day is an annual event (on the second Monday of March) during which all the member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. People use the day to promote understanding about global issues, international co-operation and the work of the modern Commonwealth. Each year there is a different theme. There is a special multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, usually attended by the Queen.

Tue 11 Mar -
Fri 14 Mar 2014
Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham
One of the main horse racing events of the year, taking place in Cheltenham (in Gloucestershire, part of the Cotswolds). This is jump racing (over fences), with many top British and Irish horses competing. The most important race is the Gold Cup on Friday. See: http://www.cheltenham.co.uk/festival/the_festival.html
* Horse racing in the UK: Life/Sport/Horse


Cheltenham Festival

Tue 11 Mar -
Wed 12 Mar 2014
Champions League Football
Second leg matches from the round of 16 stage of the Champions League
For further information, see: http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague or http://www.itv.com/sport/football/champions-league
* Football: Life/Sport/Football

Fri 14 Mar -
Sun 30 Mar 2014
Ideal Home Show, London
The Ideal Home Show is an annual exhibition about home improvement which takes place at Earls Court. For more information, see: http://www.idealhomeshow.co.uk.

Sat 15 Mar 2014 Six Nations Championship, UK/France/Italy
Final day of the international rugby competition (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy).
The games are (UK kick-off times shown): 12:30pm Italy vs England ; 2:45pm Wales vs Scotland ; 5:00pm France vs Ireland
* Rugby in the UK: Life/Sport/Rugby
* Photos from a visit to a Six Nations game: Ideas/Album/SixNations


Final matches of the Six Nations competition

ST PATRICK'S DAY
St Patrick's Day is on 17th March and is celebrated either on this day (or on one of the nearest weekends) not only in Ireland but also in London, New York and in other cities with a large Irish expatriate community. Saint Patrick was born in north England or southern Scotland at the time when the country was occupied by the Romans. He was captured and made into a slave, and was taken to Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd. He escaped on a boat, but later came back to Ireland and worked to convert the Irish people to become Christians (previously the main religion was paganism). Saint Patrick died on 17th March 461 AD, and has become the "patron saint" of Ireland. For details of St Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin, see: http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie

Sun 16 Mar 2014 London St Patrick's Day Festival, London
A celebration of Irish culture in London, usually on the Sunday nearest to St Patrick's Day (17 March).
There is a parade starting at 12 noon which passes down Piccadilly, Regent Street and past Trafalgar Square before finishing in Whitehall Place
There is also a festival of music and cultural performances in Trafalgar Square.
To check full details of this year's event, see: http://www.london.gov.uk/stpatricksday.
[Some other places where St Patrick's Day is often celebrated in London include the Irish Cultural Centre and London Irish Centre]
* Photos from this event: Ideas/Album/StPatricksDay


St Patrick's Day

Mon 17 Mar -
Sun 23 Mar 2014
Shakespeare Week, UK
A series of local events to encourage primary school children in the UK to engage in creative and cultural learning experiences connected with Shakespeare.
For further information, see: http://www.shakespeareweek.org.uk

Tue 18 Mar -
Wed 19 Mar 2014
Champions League Football
Second leg matches from the round of 16 stage of the Champions League
For further information, see: http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague or http://www.itv.com/sport/football/champions-league
* Football: Life/Sport/Football

Wed 19 Mar -
Sun 23 Mar 2014
Country Living Fair (Spring), London
British crafts and small businesses display their products. A good place to find unusual gifts. There is an entrance charge. The event is held at the Business Design Centre in London (near Angel underground station; map). For details, or to buy tickets in advance, see: http://www.countrylivingfair.com.

Thu 20 Mar -
Sun 30 Mar 2014
London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, London
A festival of gay and lesbian films, shown at the National Film Theatre in London. For details, see: http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare
* Information for lesbians in the UK: Personal/Relationships/Lesbian
* Information for gay men in the UK: Personal/Relationships/Gay
* British films: Britain/Films

Thu 20 Mar 2014 Spring Equinox, UK
The day and night are each 12 hours (this is known as the spring or vernal "equinox"). Pagans celebrate this natural event.
See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/springequinox.shtml.

Fri 21 Mar -
Sun 23 Mar 2014
Sport Relief, UK
There are fun sporting events across the UK to raise money for Comic Relief, which supports UK and African charities. Some of the ways you can help are by giving a donation at the counter of any bank or building society, or by taking part in or organising a fund-raising event such as running the Sport Relief Mile. For full details about the event and to make a donation, see: http://www.sportrelief.com.

Sat 29 Mar 2014 Head of the River Race, London
A boat race on the river Thames in London for "eights", which each have eight people who row and one person (the "cox") who directs the boat. There are several hundred boats competing, setting off at 10-second intervals (the strongest teams row first), and the times to finish the course are recorded. In 2014 it is expected to start at 2:15pm and end at about 3:30pm; the fastest boats can complete the 4.25 mile (7 kilometre) course in about 20 minutes. The race starts at Chiswick Bridge and ends at Putney Bridge. You can watch it from any accessible point along the river, but the best views are probably on the east bank of the Thames (the side which is in Surrey) just north of Chiswick Bridge (near the railway station Mortlake; see: map). Poor weather or strong tides may stop the race, so check before on the website: http://www.horr.co.uk.

Sat 29 Mar /
Sun 30 Mar 2014
British Summer Time (BST) starts, UK
If you are in the UK, change all clocks forward 1 hour. You lose one hour's sleep. The time change is actually during the night: at 1am on Sunday morning the time is changed to 2am. Before going to bed you should change at least your watch and alarm clock, and the clock for your heating system - you can make other changes on Sunday morning if you prefer. Note that some computers and electronic equipment automatically change their clocks during the night. Mornings become darker, and afternoons/evenings brighter. If you are calling abroad note that the time difference may have changed (for example: Japan/Korea change from 9 hours ahead of the UK to 8 hours ahead). For the next 6 months the time in the UK is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). When you change your clocks, you can check the exact time from the speaking clock by phoning 123. Do not always believe the clocks which you may see in public places - sometimes there is a delay before they are changed. More information is available on the website: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/europe/uk/time.

Sun 30 Mar 2014 Mother's Day (also called "Mothering Sunday"), UK
A time for people living in the UK to think about their mothers. People often give flowers or chocolates or organise a special day out for their mothers at this time, and may send a special "Mother's Day" card. Note that Mother's Day is celebrated on a different date outside the UK. The UK date is the fourth Sunday of Lent.
* Ideas for Mother's Day presents: Ideas/Gifts/MothersDay

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