1 March – Where did this celebration begin?

By calendar, spring begins on 1st March. Astronomical, it starts on March 20.

Together with the Balkan nations, we celebrate spring in a special way. The feast of Martișor is represented by a white and red cord symbolizing the mix of winter and spring, dark and light, cold and warm.

Many years ago the land where everything begin by Thracian tribes, from Albania to Ukraine from Romania to Greece and Bulgaria to Russia is now the place where this tradition was kept.

Bulgaria, for example, celebrates what they call Martenita, and even claim that the origin of this celebration comes from them, and other nations took it. Everything is based on a legend of Bulgarians, who says Huba and his brother Boian were incarcerated when Asparuh sent them a hawk tied with a white cord in order to let him know that will help them to escape.

The tradition about this celebration is widespread, but near the Danube, Boian was killed. When Huba released the hawk he saw that its leg had the cord of white with blood to notify Asparuh about his brother. He commanded his soldiers to wear white wool and one red to keep them safe. This would have happened on March 1 681.

In Albania Martisorul is called “lidhka” and is kept by children from 14 March until they see some birds called swallow. After that they hang the bracelet branch on a tree, symbolizing a way to ward off evil spirits.

In Macedonia, only kids wear Martisor and they wear it since Christmas Eve until March 1st. Thus, Macedonian children wear them until March 9, then bind them to the branches of a tree. Many believe that such trees will bear fruit in abundance, and the swallows will come on Easter. Other children wear martisorul 12 days; others carry it until the arrival of storks.

In Romania, Martisorul is tied to hand and neck or made a brooch for children by parents, so the little ones will have it before sunrise on 1st March. It is worn by girls and women. Of the cord is hanging a coin witch supposed to bring good luck
They say Martisorul is designed to protect people from the sun. In some areas, people tied also this white and red rope to animals for protection of evil spirits.