Every year on March 1st Romanians celebrate the first day of spring with a lovely custom. They wear a Martisor ( pronounced muhrtzishor), which is a little decorative object that symbolizes spring: it could be a snowdrop, a horse shoe or a chimney sweeper. A red and white string is always attached to the object.
The name Martisor is a diminutive of Martie ( March). It is not well known how this habit appeared, but some sources say it has been preserved since ancient Rome when people used to celebrate New Year’s Eve on March 1st. Other sources believe it’s of Daco-Thracian origin.
In Romania it is customary for men to give martisor to all women and girls they know, including their friends, daughters, wives, sisters and acquaintances. In Moldova, however, women give martisor to men. Women will pin them on their blouses and wear them throughout the spring.
Martisors for sale can be found everywhere in the markets. Some are very cheap and made of plastic ( you might pay less than a pound or a dollar), but you can also find beautiful ones made of gold and silver (in jewelry shops), and even handmade ones, created by artists.
The longest martisor in the world was made by two Romanian designers and it was 584.6 metres long. The martisor was made of jade, pearls, crystals, peacock feathers and lace.