March 20 is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 286 days remaining until the end of the year. Typically the March equinox falls on this date, marking the vernal point in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal point in the Southern Hemisphere, when both day and night are of equal length.
- Christian feast day:
- Earliest day on which Good Friday can fall, while April 23 is the latest; celebrated on Friday before Easter. (Christianity)
- Earliest date for the vernal equinox in the Northern hemisphere:
- Bahá’í Naw-Rúz(Bahá’í Faith)
- Chunfen (China)
- Earth Equinox Day – is celebrated on the March equinox (around March 20) to mark the precise moment of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of astronomical autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. An equinox in astronomy is that point in time (not a whole day) when the Sun is directly above the Earth’s equator, occurring around March 20 and September 23 each year. In most cultures, the equinoxes and solstices are considered to start or separate the seasons.
- Higan (Japan) a Buddhist holiday exclusively celebrated by Japanese sects during both the Spring and Autumnal Equinox. It is observed by nearly every Buddhist school in Japan. The tradition extends from mild weather that occurs during the time of equinoxes, though the origin of the holiday dates from Emperor Shōmu in the 8th century.
- International Astrology Day
- Mabon (Southern Hemisphere) (Neo-paganism)
- Nowruz (Persian, Gilaki, Kurdish, Zoroastrians, and other Iranian people and countries with an Iranian influence)
- Ostara (Northern hemisphere) (Neo-paganism)
- New Year (Thelema)
- Shunbun no Hi (Japan)
- Summer Finding (Asatru Free Assembly)
- Sun-Earth Day (United States)
- Vernal Equinox Day/Kōreisai (Japan)
- World Storytelling Day
- Extraterrestrial Abduction Day
- Feast of the Supreme Ritual (Thelema)
- Great American Meatout (United States) – if you like a good piece of steak on occasion, you will not be celebrating this holiday….
- International Day of Happiness (United Nations)
- Independence Day (Tunisia) celebrates independence from France in 1956.
- International Francophonie Day (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie), and its related observances:
- Liberation of Kirkuk City (Iraqi Kurdistan)
- National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (United States)
- World Sparrow Day
In 1413, Henry IV of England (b. 1367) dies. He was King of England and Lord of Ireland (1399–1413). He was the tenth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather‘s claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry (of) Bolingbroke /ˈbɒlɪŋbrʊk/. His father, John of Gaunt, was the third son of Edward III, and enjoyed a position of considerable influence during much of the reign of Henry’s cousin Richard II, whom Henry eventually deposed. Henry’s mother was Blanche, heiress to the considerable Lancaster estates, and thus he became the first King of England from the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenets.
In 1549, Sir Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral of the English Navy, fell in love with a girl named Elizabeth, who happened to be the princess, later to become the Queen of England. She didn’t reciprocate his love, yet he kept pestering the girl. He was later charged with treason and beheaded on this day.
In 1602, The Dutch East India Company is established. During its 96-year history, it became one of the world’s most powerful companies.
In 1726, Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher (b. 1642) dies. He was an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and played a key role in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics and shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the invention of infinitesimal calculus. Newton’s Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that dominated scientists’ view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. It also demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies could be described by the same principles. By deriving Kepler’s laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the cosmos. Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colours of the visible spectrum. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound. In addition to his work on calculus, Newton contributed as a mathematician to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, and developed Newton’s method for approximating the roots of a function. Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian and, unusual for a member of the Cambridge faculty, he refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, perhaps because he privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. In addition to his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton also dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. In his later life, Newton became president of the Royal Society. He also served the British government as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint.
In 1780, The firm of James Watt & Co. was formed for the manufacture of the first duplicating machines, invented by Watt to cope with the large
amount of copying involved in his steam engine business.
In 1800, the French army under J.B. Kleber defeated the Turks at Helipolis, Turkey, and began advancing toward Cairo, Egypt.
In 1816, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee ruling, affirmed its right to review state court decisions.
In 1848 Revolutions of 1848 in the German states: King Ludwig I of Bavaria abdicates.
In 1865, a plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct President Abraham Lincoln was foiled when Lincoln changed plans and failed to appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington, DC. Booth would later assassinate the President while Lincoln was attending a performance at Ford’s Theatre in the nation’s capital
In 1868, Jesse James Gang robs bank in Russelville Kentucky of $14,000.
In 1883, The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is signed.
In 1886, the first AC power plant in the U.S. began commercial operation in Mass.
In 1888, Start of the Sherlock Holmes Adventure, “A Scandal in Bohemia”.
In 1896, U.S. Marines landed in Nicaraqua to protect U.S. citizens in the wake of a revolution.
In 1899, Martha M. Place of Brooklyn, New York, became the first woman to be put to death by electrocution as she was executed at Sing Sing for the murder of her stepdaughter.
In 1918, Lewis A. Grant, American general and lawyer (b. 1828) dies. He was a teacher, lawyer, soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and later Assistant U.S. Secretary of War. He was among the leading officers from the state of Vermont, and received the Medal of Honor for “personal gallantry and intrepidity.”
In 1923, The Arts Club of Chicago hosts the opening of Pablo Picasso‘s first United States showing, entitled Original Drawings by Pablo Picasso, becoming an early proponent of modern art in the United States.
In 1934, the first test of a practical radar apparatus was made by Rudolf Kuhnold in Germany.
In 1942, World War II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
In 1968, President Johnson signed a bill removing gold backing from U.S. paper money.
In 1976, Publishing heiress Patty Hearst was found guilty of assisting in a bank robbery, despite the best efforts of her defense lawyer, F. Lee Bailey.
Bailey had argued that Hearst was coerced into participating in the heist by its organizers, members of the cultish Symbionese Liberation Army.
In 1988, Eritrean War of Independence: Having defeated the Nadew Command, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front enters the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
In 1988, Eight-year-old DeAndra Anrig found herself airborne when the string of her kite was snagged by an airplane flying over Shoreline Park in
Mountain View, California. (DeAndra was lifted ten feet off the ground and carried 100 feet until she let go; she was not seriously hurt.)
In 1991, The Supreme Court ruled employers could not adopt “fetal protection” policies barring women of child-bearing age from certain hazardous jobs.
In 1992, Congress passed, and President Bush immediately vetoed, a Democratic tax cut for the middle class that would have been funded by
a tax hike on the rich.
In 1994, Lewis Grizzard, American author (b. 1946) died of complications of his fourth heart-valve surgery.. He was an American writer and humorist, known for his Southern demeanor and commentary on the American South. Although he spent his early career as a newspaper sports writer and editor, becoming the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal at age 23, he is much better known for his humorous newspaper columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a popular stand-up comedian & lecturer. Grizzard also published a total of twenty-five books, including collections of his columns (e.g. Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night), expanded versions of his stand-up comedy routines (I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962), and the autobiographical If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground. Although much of his comedy discussed the South and Grizzard’s personal and professional lives, it was also a commentary on issues prevalent throughout America, including relationships between men and women (e.g. If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About a Quart Low), politics, and health, especially heart health. Grizzard was also the stepbrother of the Southern humorist Ludlow Porch.
In 1995, A sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway kills 13 and wounds 1,300 persons.
In 2010, Stewart Udall, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 37th United States Secretary of the Interior (b. 1920) dies peacefully at his home in the foothills of Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 90. He was an American politician and later, a federal government official. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.