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 Martenitsa – Мартеница), Macedonia and Albania.