Happy first of March with martisor.

Bunica brightened our morning by bringing martisorii for everyone to celebrate March 1st.

Boys wear martisori too.

In ancient Rome, New Year’s Eve was celebrated on March 1 – ‘Martius’, as the month was called in the honour of the god Mars. Mars was not only the god of war but also an agricultural guardian, who ensured nature’s rebirth. Therefore, the red and white colours of Mărțișor may be explained as colours of war and peace.

The Thracians also used to celebrate the New Year’s Eve on the first day of March, a month which took the name of the god Marsyas Silen, the inventor of the pipe (fluier, traditional musical instrument), whose cult was related to the land and vegetation. Thracian spring celebrations, connected to fertility and the rebirth of nature, were consecrated to him.In some areas, Daco-Romanians still celebrate the agrarian New Year in spring, where the first days of March are considered days of a new beginning.

Before March 1, women choose one day from the first nine of the month, and judging by the weather on the chosen day, they would know how the new year will go for them. Similarly, in other areas, young men find out what their wives are going to be like.

Milla’s martisor was a little gold mouse.

The first 9 days of March are called Baba Dochia’s Days, Baba Dochia being an image of the Great Earth Goddess. The tradition says that you must pick a day from 1 to 9 March, and how the weather in that day will be, so it will be for you all year long.

Initially, the Mărțișor string used to be called the Year’s Rope (‘’funia anului’’, in Romanian), made by black and white wool threads, representing the 365 days of the year. ‘’The Year’s Rope’’ was the link between summer and winter, black and white representing the opposition but also the unity of the contraries: light and dark, warm and cold, life and death. The ‘’Mărțișor’’ is the thread of the days in the year, spun by Baba Dochia (the Old Dochia), or the thread of one’s life, spun at birth by the Fates (Ursitoare).

White is the symbol of purity, the sum of all the colours, the light, while black is the colour of origins, of distinction, of fecundatity and fertility, the colour of fertile soil. White is the sky, the Father, while black is the mother of all, Mother Earth.According to ancient Roman tradition, the ides of March was the perfect time to embark on military campaigns. In this context, it is believed that the red string of Mărțișor signifies vitality, while the white one is the symbol of victory. Red is the colour of fire, blood, and a symbol of life, associated with the passion of women. Meanwhile, white is the colour of snow, clouds, and the wisdom of men.

The King’s martisor attends his homecoming.

In this interpretation, the thread of a Mărțișor represents the union of the feminine and the masculine principles, the vital forces which give birth to the eternal cycle of the nature. Red and white are also complementary colours present in many key traditions of Daco-Romanian folklore. These are just a few of the reasons why the Mărțișor is a sacred amulet to many Romanians, and that this tradition thrives in both the villages and the cities.

In Daco-Romanian folklore, seasons are attributed symbolic colours: spring is red, summer is green or yellow, autumn is black, and winter is white. In this sense, the Mărțișor thread, knitted in white and red, is a symbol of passing, from the cold white winter, to the lively spring, associated with fire and life. For more on this tradition and how you can play:

Martisori coloring pages (Nicole’s Coloring Pages)
The Legend of the Martisor in PDF for kids (The Kitty Cats)
Alina Alex’s informative article (World Reporter)
Four lovely martisor crafts (Pradznik Martisor)
Baba Dochia story in PDF for kids (The Kitty Cats)
Martisor gallery (Tom Kinter)

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