No matter where in the world you live, every year the 1st of March brings us hope, optimism, faith. It is spring again! We Romanians celebrate the coming of spring in a unique way and the 1st of March fills our homes, offices and the hearts of women with flowers and the traditional marțișor (trinket in honor of spring).
According to the old Roman calendar, 1st of March was the first day of the year, a time to celebrate the “Matronalia” – festivities in honor of Mars, the god of all forces of nature, of spring and agriculture. Today the first day of March is reason to be joyful even when outside it is still cold and gloomy. Never mind. The calendar shows the days of spring are here and deep down you know that warm sunny weather is coming. Moreover as a symbol of regeneration and faith we have the Mărţişor – a token of love and protection that we give to our loved ones, as a sign that we want them to be happy and healthy.
Although originally Mărţişor was represented by a coin of gold or silver, to which a rope was attached made of two twisted wires, one red and one white (or black and white), symbolizing the triumph of life over death, of health against disease – the goal was the same: an amulet to bring you luck and happiness. In popular belief the white and red rope also symbolizes the 365 days of the year, united by the two wires.
Traditions and superstitions for 1 March
Today we receive the trinket of 1 March, we choose our Babele ( Old Ladies) and wear the white & red thread attached at the wrist. Many of the old traditions though remained forgotten. Yet, not long ago, the 1st of March was the time when girls wore the thread on their neck, in the belief that they will not be burned by the sun over the summer while old people put the threads on the doors, windows and the farm animals’ horns for good luck. And in some parts of Bukovina region, the girls are the ones offering to the boys in the villages the token of Martisor.
Tradition says that the trinket – Martisor is to be worn by children for 12 days or until certain spring holidays (Martyrs, Blagovistenie, Easter) while adults should wear it until the fruit trees are blooming and then hang it on the branches of the trees. This way you will have luck throughout the year and your days will be bright as spring. Mărţişor is said to have magical powers, being the bearer of good luck, defending you from evil, preventing illness and the evil eye. Wear it on your wrist and make a node – the node has a protective force and will keep away all evils.
Also, starting 1 March we celebrate Babele ( the Old Ladies). As a rule, they are seven in number, but in some places were stretched to day 9. Now you choose a day out of the 7 ( or 9) that will show you how your life will be in the coming year.
So, believer or not, today do not forget to give your loved ones a token of spring. Thus you will have harmony and understanding. As for me, I wish all of you a serene spring, health, joy, love and a life of travels.
This post is also available in: Romanian