Although winter this year was very gracious for us, probably you won’t find a person who doesn’t look forward to the time when in grass appear snowdrops – the first signs of spring. Birds chirping happily and constructing their nests, buds greening among the branches, girl’s skirts getting shorter and shorter – these are the infallible signs that spring is coming. However, in Romania, we find yet another unmistakable sign of a new season coming – Mărțișor.
Romanians, in spite of the calendar, celebrate their spring festival on the 1st of March. It originates from the roman times, when with the coming spring, beginning of a new year was celebrated. Word Mărțișor is nothing else but diminutive form of the name of the month March (“little March”).
Mărțișor is also the name of amulets, given to the other people as a sign of friendship and love. Mărțișor most characteristic feature is the white-red ribbon, all the rest depends on imagination of the artist. So we can find Mărțișor with paper flowers, the clay figurines, little dolls, knitted butterflies, paintings on wood, cartoon characters and even with Svarowski crystals. But it is no matter with what, but to whom we hand our Mărțișor, although I have to admit that searching for the most beautiful talisman is a real challenge.
Folk beliefs state that, to ensure health over the next twelve months, Mărțișor should be worn close to heart for all March, and after that tied to the branch of a fruit tree. I do not know if you can believe to the Romanian legends – but why not to try?
Why do I write about this holiday? First of all, because it is something I met for the first time in Romania (although similar custom is also practiced in Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Italy). Second, as we all, I can’t wait to see the world blossoming and Romanian’s enthusiasm about that ais very contagious. Finally, this spring will be special for me because I’ll spend it almost all of it in Romania, and along with spring beginning I want to start writing down my adventures.