Martisor

Each year the 1st of March brings back hope, optimism and faith, as well as prosperity . Our ancestors used to celebrate the beginning of the agricultural new year.
The battle between winter and spring, darkness and light, cold and warmth is won by the sun. The triumph of revival and regeneration can be symbolized through the “sign of life”, the” sign of blood”, through its color, through Martisor. We plait it and we give it to the ones we love as a “Head of Spring”.
Martisor is a white and red thread plaited rope with an amulet (charm, talisman)-it can be a coin, shall or a flower- parents used to give their children. The boys used to give it to the girls wishing luck, health –like the clear silver, like the clear stone, like the shell from the river.
It was given on the 1st of March and it was worn nine or twelve days till they saw the first blooming tree. Then it was hung on the blooming branches. They thought that the person was going to be the same as that tree all year around. It is said that the person who hung the Martisor on the branch is going to be like the flowers of that tree.
It is also said that parents used to give their daughters a silver coin to be worn around their neck so the child will be as pure as silver when spring comes.
In some other parts of Romania the Martisor is worn till the storks come. Then it is thrown into the sky for their life to be great.
The coin meant richness , the white thread symbolized the face white as a lily and red as a rose. It was a poetical way to greet the Spring.
In Transylvania , the white and read tassel was hung at gates, windows, at the animals horns, at the pails to send away the evil eye, the malefic spirits to call upon life, the regenerating power which could be stimulating by “ the color of life”
The first day of March was called “Dragobete” when maidens use to wash with snow or rain water to be white, clean and beautiful. They also used to gather snow or water from the leaves of wild strawberries and sing while they washed their cheeks:
“Beautiful wild strawberry flower
From March
Make me be loved by everyone
And keep away all the ugliness from me.”

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