This is a romanian tradition between girls and women in the beginning of the Spring.
An ancient tradition to celebrate Spring and nowadays, also friendship!
Thank you, dear Mihaela for this so lovely gift! :-)
|From Coisas Minhas|
"Mărţişor is a traditional celebration of the beginning of Spring, on the 1st of March. It is a tradition in Romania, Moldova, and all territories inhabited by Romanians, or Daco-Romanians, and also Aromanians. Almost the same custom can be found in Bulgaria (see Martenitsa) and simmilar ones in Albania and Italy.
The name Mărţişor is the diminutive of the name for March (Martie, in Romanian), and thus literally means "little" or "dear March". It is also the folk name for this month.
Mărţişor, marţ and mărţiguş are all names for the red and white (or black and white, also blue and white) string, from which usually a small decoration is tied, and which is offered by people on the 1st day of March. Giving this Talisman to other people is an old custom, and it is believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be powerful and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. Usually, women wear it pinned to their blouses for the first 12 days of this month, until other certain spring celebrations, or until the bloom of certain fruit-trees. In some regions, a gold or silver coin is hanged from the string, which they wear it around the neck. After wearing it for a certain period of time, they buy red wine and sweet cheese with the coin, according to the belief that their faces would remain beautiful and white as cheese, and rubicund as the red wine, for the entire year.
In modern times, the Mărţişor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect. The black threads were replaced with red, but the delicate wool ropes are still a ‘cottage industry’ among the country people. They still comb out the wool, dye the floss, and twist it into thousands of tassels. In certain areas the amulets are still made with black and white ropes, for warding off evil." (Wikipedia)
To read more about it, please click here.
Thank you also Netherland for this cross culture experience! ;-)