Martisor is a holiday which is celebrated all over Romania and in territories that are usually inhabited by Romanians. This spring festival is celebrated on the 1st of March and the name Martisor is a shortened version of the word March. Starting on this day and continuing until March 8th, it is traditional for men to offer women a trinket called a martisoare. Women then wear this trinket all through the month of March – and it’s believed that it will give them improved strength and health all year long.

History of Martisor

While it isn’t known exactly when this holiday originated, it is believed to have been of Roman origin. That’s because in ancient Rome, New Year’s Eve was originally celebrated on the 1st of March, before it was changed on the Julian calendar. During this month, which was called “Martius” in honor of the Roman god Mars, citizens would wear red and white colors – which was not only the colors of Mars but was also the colors of peace and war. For many years in Romania, women would recieve gold or silver trinkets on a red and white ribbon, an evolution of the “Martius colors” which would become the martisoare tradition in modern times.

Martisor Customs & Celebrations

Martisor is now celebrated by buying red & white silky threads which have been tied into a bow and then attaching a trinket of some sort to them. It is then given to female family members, co-workers and friends. This is done to show them the value of their friendship and/or that the male respects or admires them. Women will then wear it all during the month of March. When the month is over, some women will remove the trinket and then tie the string to a tree – usually a fig tree.

Where is Martisor celebrated?

Romania Show all 1 locations