Legenda Martisorului

From the booklet I have received in Bucharest Airport, containing The legend of Martisor – in Romanian, English and German, prepared by Institutul de Etnografie si Folclor „Constantin Brailoiu”. Thank you to the Custom’s officer for the gift and for the elegant, polite and charming way to say welcome!
„The legend of Martisor is primarily linked to the rebirth of nature that pulses with life and to the joining together in a twisted string of two threads, one white, the other read, symbolizing sacrifice, blood, purity and all things pristine.
In the Romanian tradition, this string made by women, is known by the name of martisor, martigus, mart or martug and bears, on the one hand, the identity of the one who makes it and gives it as a present, and, on the other hand, the identity of the one who wears it.
Traditionally, it was given to the children, boys and girls, to young men and wives. In some areas, it was given to the boys by the girls. It used to be worn on one’s wrist, neck, rarely on the foot round the ankle, and more recently on the lapel, for 9 to 12 days until the arrival of the storks and the blossoming of the trees. Then, it was laid on a bush or on a blossomed tree until a chant was performed which asked for health, beauty and protection for the young girls whose fair skin could be burnt by the wind and the sun: ” Take the burns/ And give me fairness”; „He/She who wears martisoare/Won’t be scorched by the sun.”
The oldest mention of this custom among Romanians dates back to the begining of the 19th century in a book called „The Book of the Rumanian Language”. Here one can read the legend of Martisor: „Martisor is March but they also call that a woven white and read thread that is worn by kids around the neck or the arm in the month of March, to protect them from disease, magic and bad spells.”

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