Custom of Mărţişor - spring celebration

Mărţişor is an authentic Romanian tradition celebrating the beginning of spring on March 1.
The word Mărţişor is a diminutive from March, something like "little March".
Each year, on the first of March, women receive from men and children a small gift called Mărţişor, as a token of appreciation and a symbol of the coming spring.

The symbolic part of the Mărţişor is the red and white twisted, silk string from which a small amulet is tied.
Mărţişor-colormagicphotography.comThese amulets or talismans are usually handmade by artisans and craftsmen and can be any kind of figurines of ceramics, dried flowers encased in plastic, fabric, a coin and sometimes real jewelry.
Some are placed in beautiful, little boxes, others are pinned to a spring greeting card.

Women wear the Mărţişor pinned to their blouses, like soldiers do with decorations.
Old folk belief is that whoever wears the red and white string will be strong and healthy for the year to come.

On the last week of February, street vendors offer their products on the sidewalk of the most crowded streets. Galleries, shops and also the florists' have their "special offers" as well.

Mărţişors are usually not expensive but these amulets often go together with a bouquet of flowers. The delicate snowdrops, the first flowers of spring, are the favorites of this day.
Mărţişor-spring symbol
In old times the Mărţişor string used to be called year's rope ("funia anului"-in Romanian) and was made of black and white wool threads, representing the 365 days of the year, black and white representing the opposition and also the unity of the contraries like winter and the summer, light and dark, cold and warmth.

There are many stories and legends about the origin of this very old tradition.
One of the theories is that in ancient Rome, New Year's Eve was celebrated on March 1. March was called "Martius" in the honor of the god Mars who was not only the god of war but also an agricultural guardian, who ensured nature's rebirth. Therefor the red and white colors of Mărţişor may be explained as colors of war and peace.

Here is a collage of some Mărţişors that I received over the years.
Nowadays, the Mărţişor is just a symbol of friendship and love but also the herald of the so many upcoming spring holidays like Mother's Day at the 8th of March, then Easter and ....you know the rest.

9 comments:

bobbie said...

what a lovely custom
I also love your snowdrops

Sistertex said...

very nice, I've never heard of this before! thank you for sharing it.

Sylvia K said...

What an interesting and lovely custom! This is one of the things I do so enjoy about blogging -- all the interesting things that I learn. And, like Bobbie, I love your snowdrops! Great post for the day! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Sylvia

SquirrelQueen said...

Such beautiful pieces, this is a wonderful custom. I am really enjoying learning about this holiday.

LadyFi said...

What a lovely custom. I wish you good fortune and health too.

Self Sagacity said...

I love what you did to your blog! The new look is awesome so is your post!

maiaT said...

This new look is a year old but you gave me a good idea.

catcent said...

Une belle coutume de printemps, c'est tres beaux Bye maia

jay said...

Those are such pretty little tokens! A nice custom, for sure!

And spring is well worth celebrating after a long dark winter, isn't it?

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