March in Romania

Romanians like all other people have a lot of legends, heroes, important events.
For us March is not important only for the 8th of March, Mother’s Day, but also for the first of March. There is an old custom dated more than two thousand years ago, a Dacian custom. Young girls used to give the young boys, on a leap-year, a present. This present had also two knitted woollen threads. Their colour was white and red. As the years passed the blue colour was added and then the white became yellow and so the national flag was born. This “Martisor” was tied to the ankle of the left wrist. After 30 days they were untied and hung on a budded plant usually a bramble. The person who found it was to marry the same year. It is a sacred custom for Romanian people.
Nowadays the custom changed a bit. Boys usually give girls a “Martisor”. A little object was added in time to the thread. It symbolized love, respect, friendship. We also call this month Martisor.

But there is also a legend connected to the first day of March. There is a very old custom, from Romans ‘ time, when shepherds used to take their sheep to the mountains in spring. This way they saved the grass round their houses for winter. They came back only in September or October..
They say that an old shepherdess wanted to go to the mountains before other shepherdess used to. She was warned by her friends but she wouldn’t listen. So she took seven fur-coats and she reached the top of the mountain with none of them. On the way it was too hot for her so she dropped them. When March saw her , she made some hot days so the shepherdess had to give up her fur-coats. Then March borrowed three days from the cold February and she froze the shepherdess and her sheep. The stones can still be seen these days. Tee first three March days symbolize winter , spring and summer as the weather changes continuously.

Other legends are about Dochia. There were two wars between the Dacians and the Romans /101-102 and 105-106 B.C./.Trojan ,the Roman emperor conquered a part of Dacia. They say the Trojan fell in love with a young Dacian girl called Dochia. She asked the emperor to prove his love by building a bridge across the Danube. When the bridge was ready they went to see it. The girl jumped into the Danube and drowned.
The bridge was built by a Greek architect Apolodor from Damasc and its pillars can be seen even nowadays.
Another story says that Dochia was Decebal’s sister. Decebal was a Dacian king. She despised Trojan so she begged Zamolxes/the most important Dacian god/ to be stoned. Zamolxes fulfilled he wish and Dochia was stoned.. On the top of the mountain there is still the stone supposed to be Dochia.
Dimitrie Cantemir, a Romanian king and a great historian, said that there is a Byzantine saint by the name of St.Efdochia. We find Dimitrie Cantemir’s name on a marble notice in front of Sainte-Genevive library near Sorbonne, among other famous names.
All these legends have some truth in them:there are stones, Dochia was Decebal’s sister, captured by the Romans during the war between the Dacians and the Romans.

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