Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Monday, March 14, 2005

March 1st The Romanian Martisor Day.

Ok I'm late with this one, but it is better late than never :)

For Romanians, March 1st is a special day that signifies the beginning of spring. It is a custom that during this day people offer to the loved ones a special gift named Martisor, pronounced Mar-tzi-shor. The gift is a symbol of spring, vitality, luck and regeneration. Martisor is made of 2 silk threads (red and white, symbolizing life and purity) twisted together and knotted in two bows. In order to understand this custom you have to go way back in time and read about the birth of the Romanian nation.

Dacians (Romanian ancestors) were the largest nation among the Thracians. They used to put two woolen threads on the horns of their animals as a symbol of vitality and to keep them healthy. Later on, people started to wear the red and white threads around their neck or hand. The woolen was replaced with silk and the threads were twisted to discourage diseases. Dacians believed that the diseases will stay away since they will be trapped and twisted by the Martisor threads.

At that time Dacians used to wear this symbol all through March and hung it after that on a rosebush or on the first blossoming tree. Today, a small tassel decorates the end of each thread and a small object is added to the threads.
The idea of adding an object to the Martisor comes probably from Romans that colonized Dacia.

For Romans, March 1st was the New Year day. It was a Roman custom to offer object gifts as a sign of fortune and good luck. Nowadays the object can symbolize even love feelings. Romanian Martisor is a living proof of Daco/Roman origin of the Romanian nation.

In some regions of the country the Martisor gift is given only to girls or women. In others, though, anyone can receive the Martisor that usually is pinned to the chest. It is a proof of popularity if your chest is full of "Martisor"s :)

If you want to know more about Thracians:
1. Herodotus writes about Thracians.
2. Thracians mentioned in Bible texts.
3. Spartacus was a Thracian.
4. Thracians and other nations.

Martisor links:
1. in French:
2. in Romanian:


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