Martisor: Romania’s ancient spring celebration

On March 1, Romanians celebrate the coming of spring in their own unique way – through the symbolic martisor (or trinket, in an approximate English translation). The tradition is said to have originated in Roman times.

Martisorul are small objects that women receive on this day from men, as a symbol of their respect and admiration. Initially made just from two twisted threads of wool, one colored red and one white, the trinket has evolved, incorporating a small piece of jewelry or something hand crafted attached to the red-white lace. The red is said to represent the summer, and the heat, while the white represents the winter, and the cold. Some people say that the two colors represent love and honesty.

Women wear the martisor all March, as it is believed to bring strength and health for the year to come. Some women pin one or more ‘martisoare’ on their blouse, while others just wear a red-white lace on their wrist. At the end of March, the red-white threads are tied to a branch of a fruit tree, said to bring wealth.

Last year, Romanian-born designers Mirela Harris and Adrian Haiduc entered the Guinness Book of Records with the longest ever martisor: 584,6 meters. Read more about it here.

On March 8, Romanians have another celebration – Women’s Day. It’s the day when, as a sign of respect and gratitude, all women should receive flowers and gifts. Women’s Day ends a cycle of celebrations, which begins on February 14.

Irina Popescu, [email protected]

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