International Martisor takes place in Romania every year at the beginning of spring, on March 1. Martisor has become a symbol of friendship, appreciation, respect, and love. Giving people the talisman called ‘Mărțișor’ or ‘Marț,’ a red and white little mascot with a hanging tassel, is an old custom. It is believed that the wearer will be strong and healthy for the year to come. Both men and women wear it pinned to their clothes, close to the heart, until the last day of March, when they tie it to a fruit-tree twig.
History of International Martisor
Some ethnologists believe that ‘Mărțișor’ has a Roman origin while others believe it has a Daco-Thracian origin instead. New Year’s Eve was celebrated on March 1 as ‘Martius’ in Ancient Rome. The month was named in honor of the god Mars, the god of war who was also an agricultural guardian and who ensured nature’s rebirth. The red and white colors used for Mărțișor may be considered to be colors of war and peace.
New Year’s Eve was also observed on March 1 by the Thracians. They named the month after the god named Marsyas Silen, the inventor of the ‘fluier,’ a traditional musical instrument similar to the pipe. Thracian spring celebrations had connections to fertility and the rebirth of nature. Daco-Romanians still celebrate the agrarian New Year in spring in some parts of the world. In these areas, the first days of March are considered days of a new beginning.
Ancient Roman tradition stated that March was the perfect time to embark on military campaigns. Within this context, the red string of Mărțișor symbolizes vitality. The white string symbolizes victory. Red is considered to be the color of fire, blood, and a symbol of life, which is also associated with the passion of women. Red and white are also complementary colors present in traditional Daco-Romanian folklore.
International Martisor timeline
Martisor’s first celebrations start about 8,000 years ago.
Romania gains independence and becomes a sovereign state.
A Bulgarian writer named Nikolay Raynov publishes literary work that links this Bulgarian tradition to Khan Asparukh.
The celebration of Martisor is toned down due to the global pandemic.
International Martisor FAQs
Do children participate?
Yes. Children have received ‘martisoare’ from their parents since the end of the nineteenth century.
Who has popularly received Martisor?
As ‘martisor,’ the Mayor of Constanta, Radu Mazare, received a baby kangaroo he named ‘Boogie.’
Are goats used in Martisor?
As a child, Anamaria Prodan, a football club manager, received a goat wearing a ‘martisor’ at its neck.
International Martisor Activities
Learn about Romania
You can learn more about the country by doing some research. You’ll find out more about its people and culture.
You can visit the country to experience their culture in person. There are many activities that you would enjoy in Romania.
Share the holiday
You can share the holiday with people you know. You can do this online or share it in person.
5 Interesting Facts About Martisor
It is agriculture related
Martisor originated in agricultural practices since Romans celebrated it at the beginning of Spring.
Mars protected the environment
Romans believed in the god Mars, who was responsible for the protection of the fields and the flocks.
It represents harmony
Combining the two-color strings of Martisor symbolizes harmony.
Animals are included
The celebration is called ‘Martenita’ in Bulgaria, and even animals receive ‘martisoare.’
There are legends
One of the Martisor legends says that a dragon kidnapped the sun for three seasons until winter when a brave man confronted the dragon.
Why We Love International Martisor
It maintains tradition
The holiday is an old tradition that has been passed on for many years. It keeps the younger generation in tune with their culture.
It makes people happy
Giving and receiving a Martisor makes people happy. It is a tradition of love and appreciation.
It brings unity
The holiday helps people with similar beliefs to come together for a common purpose. It creates love and unity in the community.
International Martisor dates