Romanian traditions: Mărţişor


Mărţişor is one of the best Romanian traditions, celebrated in the beginning of the Spring, on March 1st. The tradition’s name is the diminutive of March (in Romanian: Martie). The men offer to the women a talisman object also called Mărţişor, consisting of a jewel or a small decoration like a flower, an animal, a heart, tied to a red and white string. There are multiple symbols in this gift, but all of it have three common sense: revival, sensibility, and the care for the women.

The gift is considered to bring good luck and wealth. Some consider the red as the symbol of the Spring, and the white for Winter, the tradition taking place right between the two seasons. I prefer the version in which the two colors represent the love and the sincerity. This symbols fit better with the early Spring flowers associated with this tradition, especially the snowdrops.


There are archeological proves that the tradition is over 8 thousands years old. It was celebrated by Getas, and it is found in the celebration of Mars as the protector of the fertility and vegetation, as well as in the celebration of the Marsyas Silen god by the Dacians. The Dacian women use coins and little stones tied to red and white wool wires, for wealth and fertility.

Similar traditions can be found in Balkans, especially in Bulgaria (the tradition is called MartenitsaМартеница), Macedonia and Albania.

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8 Responses to Romanian traditions: Mărţişor

  1. Anonymous October 24, 2008 at 4:37 am

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  2. Anonymous October 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm

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  3. Tiger November 5, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Ochumet easy! Already all, pancakes, know about it except me

  4. ana February 18, 2009 at 2:15 am

    si eu vreauuuuuuu:P:P:P:):)

    ca suny asa mumoase

    ca mie imi place

  5. Boyan Yurukov March 5, 2009 at 6:38 am

    This is a much a Romanian tradition, as is the Indian rain dance. In Romania it is mostly celebrated in the villages and cities close to the Bulgarian border and especially those in the eastern part. Martenitsas (or Mărţişor) can also be seen in Greece and Serbia, but only close to the Bulgarian borders and in villages that have bulgarian dependents in them. It can be found in ancient Bulgarian decedents that stayed in central Russia, when my people decided to come to the Balkans more than 1300 years ago. It can also be found in most of Macedonia, but it is obvious why.

    The only archaeological evidences on the Balkans that had anything to do with Martenitsas are after the 7th century A.D. and were only in regions that there once part of the Bulgarian Empire at the time. Many believe that Mărţişor appeared in Romania in the end of the 19th century due to transfer from Bulgaria, when the Bulgarian resistance formed communities in Romania in order to organize rebellions back home.

  6. Boyan Yurukov March 12, 2009 at 6:15 am

    By the way, I just found out that they have something similar in Northern India, but they carry it all the time and has nothing to do with Spring. the region, in which it is popular, is close to the region in Iran/Pakistan where it is believed that the decedents of the proto-bulgarians came.

  7. rocksgirl March 2, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Bulgarian Empire??? Bulgarian Empire??! This is the first time I’ve heard of it! I know of the Ottoman Empire that incorporated Bulgaria, amongst other regions. Bulgaria was one of the first regions to be annexed to the empire and one of the last to be lost:

    So if this is the case, then how reliable is the rest of the information in the above comment?…

  8. Nicolae March 2, 2011 at 1:56 am

    they say so

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