Today is the 15th, or the Ides, of March. This day is famous for being the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated, as a soothsayer told him it would be. But in Ancient Rome- before Caesar, and before Shakespeare wrote his famous play, Julius Caesar- the Ides of March was a Spring Celebration in honor of the God, Mars. After all, the month of March is named for him.
Mars was the Roman god of war but also an agricultural guardian, a characteristic of his from early Rome. In the founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus, the twins who founded Rome. The three wild animals most sacred to Mars were the wolf, the woodpecker and the goose.
The wolf is sacred to Mars, because a she-wolf suckled his infant twins when they were left out in the wilderness by order of their human uncle, who feared that they would take back the kingship he had usurped.
The woodpecker is sacred to Mars because it is a courageous and spirited bird and has a beak so strong that it can overturn oaks by pecking them until it has reached the inmost part of the tree.
In Roman Gaul, the goose was associated with the Celtic forms of Mars, and archaeologists have found geese buried alongside warriors in graves. The goose was considered a bellicose animal because it is easily provoked to aggression, and so reminded them of warring Mars.