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Martisor

Public and national holidays in Romania Cultural festival in Romania

Martisor is a festival in Romania on 1 March that celebrates the first day of spring

When is Martisor?

This holiday is always celebrated on 1 March. It is not a public holiday, but is widely observed in Romania and parts of Moldova. In Romanian, it is known as 'Mărțișor' meaning 'little March'. Martisor celebrates the traditional first day of spring.

History of Martisor

March gets its name from the Roman Martius, which was Latin for Mars, the Greek god of war.

In Roman times, New Year was celebrated on 1 March. In addition to his military role, Mars was also an agricultural deity, so having Mars mark the onset of spring and the start of the new year was fitting.

The date of 1 March as New Year is also said to have used by the Dacians, the tribe who were ancient inhabitants of Romania and Moldova, so the customs of Martisor may predate its Roman name.

The most common tradition associated with this festival is the Martisor, which are red and white threads tied in a bow and attached to a small trinket. The Martisor will be on sale in every town and village and they are bought as gifts for the female family members. The red is said to represent summer (heat) and the white is winter (cold) with the combination marking the turning point in the season.

The Martisor is worn by women throughout March as it is believed they bring strength and health in the coming year. At the end of March, the Martisor threads are tied on a branch of a fruit tree as that is supposed to bring wealth and prosperity.

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