Thursday, March 1, 2012

Don't Lose Your Marbles

Here's a little bit of history for the month of MARCH:

"The word 'March' comes from the Roman 'Martius'.

This was originally the first month of the Roman calendar and was named after Mars, the god of war. March was the beginning of our calendar year. We changed to the 'New Style' or 'Gregorian calendar in 1752, and it is only since then when we the year began on 1st January. The Anglo-Saxons called the month Hlyd monath which means Stormy month, or Hraed monath which means Rugged month.

All through Lent the traditional games played are marbles and skipping. The games were stopped on the stroke of twelve noon on Good Friday, which in some places was called Marble Day or Long Rope Day. The game of marbles has been played for hundreds of years and some historians say that it might have been started by rolling eggs. In the past, round stones, hazelnuts, round balls of baked clay and even cherry stones have been used."

Speaking of marbles, the phrase "Losing your marbles" comes to mind. Here is a theory on the origin of that saying from

"...To 'lose one's marbles' is to lose one's mind...It has been suggested that the 'losing one's mind' meaning derives from the Elgin Marbles. These are the collection of sculptures, some from the Parthenon Frieze, which were taken from Athens by Lord Elgin in 1806. The supposition is that the expression derives from the loss of the artworks by the Greeks, or their subsequent loss at sea when the ship that was transporting them sank. An interesting theory, but no more than that; there's no evidence to support the idea.
It's more likely that 'marbles' was coined as a slang term meaning 'wits/common sense', as a reference to the marbles that youngsters play with. The notion of 'losing something that is important to you' appears to have migrated from the image of a forlorn child having lost his prized playthings. An early citation of this figurative usage is found in an August 1886 copy of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat:
He has roamed the block all morning like a boy who had lost his marbles. "

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