Martisor

Romanians have a beautiful and ancient pre-Lenten observance on the first day of March, called Martisor (pronounced "Mart-see-shor"). It honors women.

Greetings in this brightening season of hope and renewal!
 
In English, we say that March "goes in like a lion and out like a lamb" (or the reverse).  March 8 is International Women's Day. Christians worldwide begin a Lenten journey towards the rebirth and renewal of Holy Week and Easter. March is a turning in the cycle of our year.
 
Romanians have a beautiful and ancient pre-Lenten observance on the first day of March, called Martisor (pronounced "Mart-see-shor"). It honors women.
 
The festival's name derives from Martie, or "March" in Romanian, and the tradition has its inception during ancient Roman times.
 
Every year the festive day of March 1st offers renewed hope and confidence, and faith in good fortune and a prosperous life. During the first nine days of March, new life, spring buds and warming sun win their battle against cold winds and cloudy skies and the nasty days of the “Babele," or old women.
This triumph of rebirth and regeneration is embodied in  a special pin or bracelet given to women and children, the Martisor. A Martisor may be lovingly made by hand, or bought in one of the many stalls that are decked in red and white.

The white and red threads of the Martisor amulet symbolize good luck and good health: "like pure silver, like the river stone, like the seashell." Parents customarily tie a red and white thread around their children's wrist, young men offer a Martisor to young women, and young women may exchange bracelets and pins among themselves in the early morning of the first day of March.

The custom was to wear the Martisor for nine to twelve days, sometimes until the first tree would bloom. Then it was to be hung on a flowering branch to bring good luck to its bearer.

For Martisor images, search "Martisor" online.

Happy Martisor! Blessings of the season of hope and new life to all of you from all of us at NOROC--"New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children"!

Elizabeth Searles
Global Ministries Mission Associate (UCC / DOC)
partnered with NOROC
"New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children"