“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection.”
- Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer, poet, philosopher, artist, 1883-1931
While you would have thought we finished the New Year celebrations with February’s lunar new year, you’re mistaken. Here are some other new year celebrations this March:
#1 In ancient times, March 1, Kalends Martius, was the start of the Roman calendar year and was considered spring’s first day. Besides being the god of war, Mars was associated with agriculture and fertility. Therefore, March was an important time. Over time, January 1 replaced March 1 as the new New Year. Today, in Romania and part of Moldova, an ancient Roman tradition known as the exchange of Martisors (red and white amulets) still takes place on March 1 as a symbol of good luck to celebrate the arrival of spring.
#2 Nowruz: Also known as the Persian or Iranian New Year, it is one of humanity’s oldest holidays. Nowruz begins on the spring equinox (when days and nights are equal lengths), after which days become longer, signifying the arrival of spring. This year Nowruz is on the 21st. Besides Iran and Central Asia, Parsi communities worldwide also celebrate Nowruz.
#3 Cheti Chand, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, etc. These new year festivals take place around the Indian subcontinent on March 22. Each has its unique traditions and customs, with feasts, processions and prayer services, again, to welcome the arrival of spring.
Ramadan, the ninth month, one of the holiest of the Islamic lunar calendar, starts on March 22 this year. A deeply spiritual month during which Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. If you have friends, colleagues or business partners of the Islamic faith, or you operate in a Muslim country or community, be respectful and considerate of this practice. It is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection on the importance of compassion, generosity, and gratitude.
Other key days in March include International Women’s Day (8th), Holi – the Hindu Festival of Colours (8th), International Commonwealth Day (13th), St Patrick’s Day (17th), and Greek National Day (25th). Since we mentioned St Patrick’s Day for the Irish, we should not miss out on St David’s Day (1st) for Wales.
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
By now, virtually everyone must have heard of ChatGPT, the latest Artificial Intelligence sensation that has taken the tech industry and investment community by storm. Friends frequently ask if I wrote my newsletters (Yes, I write them myself), so I thought I should give some attention to this latest chatbot.
Having worked in the IT industry, I cautiously created a test account. Soon, I was able to dialogue with my new AI friend. Minutes into it, I was impressed. It is clear why this chatbot triggered “Code RED” @ Google; how it works will disrupt the current search engine-advertisement business model altogether. Here, take a look at the poem my new GPT “assistant” created in less than a minute for you:
The world of AI and robots is here. Many are beginning to find it challenging to understand AI algorithms because it models our brains, and not many of us are neuroscientists to tackle such a complex subject. With trepidation, we ask: Will there be a difference between “them” and “us” as they learn to be more “intelligent”? Will AI beings eventually replace humankind?
I think (at least for the moment) there are some distinct differences between us (humans) and them (AI beings): (1)we (humans) function with intent, (2)we (or most of us) are naturally curious. (3)we (or most of us) are social and desire to connect. If humans retain these differences, we will have the upper hand in managing AI in the human world. Else, machine-learning technology may very well overtake us. I’ll share more on this next time.
Meanwhile, here are some fun facts for you to discover this month:
Have fun exploring and connecting!
The world is fascinating simply because differences exist!
Join us to spread the words, share the vision, and do our parts.
At TransCultural Group (TCG), we are determined to play our part in making the world a better place. We have launched an e-book for Youth. We have also uploaded the complete series of “Food around the World” on our YouTube channel.
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Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO