Martisor is a Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring, on March the 1st. According to the old calendar this date was also considered as the beginning of the new year. It also means life and continuity, that’s why it is symbolically correlated to women and fertility. This tradition is authentic in Romania and Moldova, but alike (still not identical) customs can be found in Bulgaria, called Martenitsa, and similar onel in Albania, Greece and Italy.
Initially, the Martisor string used to be called the Year’s Rope, made by black and white wool threads, representing the 365 days of the year. The Year’s Rope was the link between summer and winter, black and white representing the opposition but also the unity of the contraries: light and dark, warm and cold, life and death. White is the symbol of purity, the sum of all the colours, the light, while Black is the colour of origins, of distinction, of fecundation and fertility, the colour of fertile soil. White is the sky, the Father, while black is the mother of all, Mother Earth.
Right now, the colours used to make the Martisoare are Red and White. According to ancient Roman tradition, the ides of March was the perfect time to embark on military campaigns. In this context, it is believed that the red string of Martisor signifies vitality, while the white one is the symbol of victory. Red is the colour of fire, blood, and a symbol of life, associated with the passion of women. Meanwhile, white is the colour of snow, clouds, and the wisdom of men. In this interpretation, the thread of a Martisor represents the union of the feminine and the masculine principles, the vital forces which give birth to the eternal cycle of the nature
George Cosbuc, a romanian poet, stated that Martisor is a symbol of fire and light, and of the Sun. Not only the colours, but also the traditional silver coin hung from the thread are associated with the sun. White, the colour of silver, is also a symbol of power and strength. The round form of the coin is also reminiscent of the Sun, while silver is associated with the Moon. These are just a few of the reasons why the Martisor is a sacred amulet.
In Daco-Romanian folklore, seasons are attributed symbolic colours: spring is red, summer is green or yellow, autumn is black, and winter is white. This is why one can also say that the Martisor thread, knitted in white and red, is a symbol of passing, from the cold white winter, to the lively spring, associated with fire and life.
In modern times, the Martisor has lost its talisman properties and became a symbol of appreciation, respect, friendship or love.
And here’s our Romanian Spring logo 😀
text – wiki
first pic – romania-insider.com