Mărțișor is a Romanian tradition. It is celebrated on the first of March and there are many stories surrounding this holiday. I will only tell you a few of them, the most known ones.
Until the last century, Martisor would be given to the children and young people – girls and boys alike – on March 1, before sunrise. It is a trinket rope consisting of two wires of twisted wool, colored red and white, or black and white, representing unity of opposites: summer – winter, heat – cold, light – dark, fertility – sterility. The rope was tied to the hand, pinned to the chest and worn until the flowering of fruit trees. Then hung as beneficial sign on flowering branches of hawthorn, grape vines, cherry.
Some popular legends say that Martisor was spun by Baba Dochia (an old agrarian deity), who has reached old age, dies and then is reborn at spring equinox. It is said that while she was walking her sheep during the end of winter, she found a pear and she tied it with the Martisor.
Another legend says that once the symbol of spring, the Sun, fell on the ground, taking the form of a young man to attend a dance in a village. Evil dragon saw that he took the form of a young man, kidnapped and imprisoned him in a dungeon, causing suffering to all nature. It is said that rivers stopped flowing, birds stopped singing, even the children stopped laughing.
Nobody knew what to do until a sturdy young man decided to confront him and release the Sun. He started off with the powers of many of the Earth. The young man´s journey lasted 3 seasons: summer, autumn and winter. Towards the end of winter, he found the dragon´s castle and fought for days until the dragon was defeated.
Weak and badly injured, the young man managed to reach the imprisoned Sun and released him, after which he died, his blood flowing on white snow. The sun rose in the sky and proclaimed the coming of spring, filling the hearts of all earthlings with happiness.
Since then, young men knit two “ciucurasi”, one white and one red, giving them to girls they love or to loved ones. Red means love for all that is beautiful, reminiscent of the color of the young man´s blood. White symbolizes purity, health and snowdrop, the first flower of spring.
Nowadays, Martisor just represents the coming of spring and each woman should receive one martisor together with spring flowers. Today, this string is represented by hanging crafts, embodying various animals, flowers, letters, etc..
Enough with the history lesson. I really like this Romanian tradition and am very happy every year to wear one in my chest. This is the first year that I actually made some and this is how they look like:
The heart was for my mother and the feather was for me, i kind of like feathers :D
The are both made out of FIMO. The feather I cut out myself and used some glitter and the heart I made using a doily and a heart shaped cookie cutter. The white and red thread I bought for 20 cents.
And although my father usually buys us some funny martisoare every year, this year he bought us cosmetics, which I have to admit was pretty cool. I got new nail polish, eye make-up and nail polish removal, strawberry flavor :) so yeah, this martisor rocks :))