March 1st is a popular time for festivities such as St. David’s Day and Marstisor. Since we wrote about St. David’s Day last year, we thought it was time to give Martisor its chance to shine in the spotlight.
Martisor is an ancient tradition (possibly over 8,000 years old) which is celebrated all over Romania every year. The main aspect of Martisor is the wearing of a string braid, the colours of which are symbolic of the summer and winter that ensures its owner has a wealthy and prosperous new year. In the past (although less so now) country folk would hang this red and white (or sometimes black and white) braid at their windows, gates or even on their cattle to discourage negative forces. In Moldova and Bucovina the braid was decorated with a coin. After the coin had been worn for a fortnight the women would buy cheese with it, this was supposed to ensure their skin would stay beautiful for the rest of the year. In other areas people wear the Martisor until the last day of March, when it is tied to a fruit-tree twig.
Today, Martisor are purchased from shops and often have a little charm attached, they are given to members of your family or friends.