I am going to be going to a conference on the E.U. in Belgium shortly. I am excited to learn about the E.U. and see some of Belgium, but I am sad to be missing the first few days of March in Romania.
Why? Gifts!!During the first days of March the tradition in Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria is to celebrate the coming of spring. Women wear red and white strings and men give small gifts to the women in their lives. Many of the gifts are small decorations that hang from the strings.
This is not like Valentine’s Day. The gifts do not have romantic meaning. Gifts are given to every woman one respects and/or considers a friend. Those red and white strings women wear get tied to the branch of a tree in acknowledgement of the first buds of spring. Martie is the Romanian word for March, so Marţişor means little March and is also the name for the red and white strings.
I have discovered that I can tell when a holiday is coming by the street vendors that appear by my bus stop. This was true for St. Nicholas day and was true again for Marţişor. Vendors were also doing a brisk business in Piaţa Unirii.
Since I’ll be gone I bought myself my own gift for this holiday, the pendant pictured above.