5 March 2019 | European School of Varese


The Mărţişor holiday is conceived as a tribute to spring and youth, being celebrated in many Balkan countries. Mărțișor, marț and mărțiguș are all names for the red and white strings with a hanging tassel, often offered on the first day of March. Traditionally, the red and white braided thread is conceived as 'the rope of the year' which gathers the 365 days of the year. The two colours represent the two opposite seasons, winter and summer, as in medieval society only these two seasons were known.

There are various Martisor traditions, such as:

  • Mărţişor is worn during "The Days of Old Dochia" (Zilele Babelor, in Romanian) that are between 1 to 9 March, when people pick a day from this period and it is said that depending on how that day will be, that’s how all your year will be. A sunny day predicts a good year and a gloomy one a bad year;
  • in Transylvanian cities (center Romania), mărţişors are worn during the first two weeks of March and then hung on doors, windows, horns of domestic animals, because it is considered that it may frighten away evil spirits;
  • in Dobrogea, Mărţişors are worn until the arrival of cranes, then thrown in the air so that their happiness will be great and have wings.

The Festival of Mărţişor is also celebrated in the Balkans by Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians, in Bulgaria where it is called Marten/ Martenitsa (Мартеница), as well as in Macedonia and Albania.

(adapted from ).

  • Date: 5 March 2019
  • Venue: European School of Varese
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