(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ready for Marțișor

In one of my first Romanian language lessons, we learned the months of the year, with a sentence describing each month.  Marție (March) is the month of Marțișor (mar-tsi-shor).  Our language teacher explained to us--mostly me--that on Marțișor, the first eight days of March, men give women small gifts.  Every woman they know.  I needed to be prepared to pass out small gifts. She's telling me in October to get ready!
     Well I'm ready.  Here's a picture of my Marțișor gifts, Texas Bluebonnets, one of the first flowers of spring in Texas.  It's kind of like making Fiesta pins!
Marțișor is a celebration of the coming of spring, a tradition in Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria.  Women wear the red-and-white string for the first eight days of March, or until the first bloom of spring.  Then she ties the string on the branch to acknowledge the first bud.  When we were in Bulgaria in Sept., we saw red and white yarn tied on a branch of a tree, left from the previous spring. Our hosts told us about Marțișor traditions.
    The weekend before Marțișor, vendors' stalls sprang up in every little piața selling little gifts for 1 leu to 15 lei.  I'm a 2 lei kind of guy, and after looking at the selection, I decided I could make my own.
     The custom has its origins in Dacian-Thracian times (that's over 8,000 years ago; these are the folks that Jason and the Argonauts wrote about).  Back then, it was the new year's celebration of the rebirth of nature.  Now, it's a celebration of friendship and respect.  It's not like Valentine's Day, there are no romantic meanings, so you are supposed to give a small token of friendship to every woman you know and respect.  It's not an equal opportunity holiday--the women don't have to give anything, just wear the ribbons.

1 comment:

  1. Dan:Dacian-Thracian times were more like 2000-2500 years ago(8000 is kind of too much).The "martisor" tradition might predate the Dacians though.Or maybe it was just a typing error?No offence intended.Best regards!