Romania really surprised me with this fun spring tradition. I’m writing about it here so that it’s engraved into the blog; I don’t want to forget this one ;-).
A “Mărțișor” is a gift that consists of a wrapped or braided red and white string that’s tied to a bead or a small trinket. This gift celebrates the arrival of spring, and this tradition has been celebrated for thousands of years. However, traditionally, the gift was only the two strings braided together, sans the bead/charm. The white string represents spring and the red represents winter; the charms are something new that are meant to suggest good luck. It’s traditional for men to give Mărțișor to the women in their life, although I definitely saw many women buying and giving them to friends. I received many Mărțișor from my male colleagues throughout the month of March, and they look like this:
People go to the piața and buy them from vendors there, or in basically any shop. I saw a few people hanging them in bushes and in trees, supposedly to represent good luck and longevity. I love this tradition because how beautiful is it to welcome spring with such a simple but decorative gift. I made sure to buy a few to take home for next year. I’ll definitely be bringing this tradition home with me! 🙂