Martisor or Trinket

Martisor, Hello March, Martenica

Martisor is an old Romanian tradition celebrated on March 1st.  The name is a diminutive of March (Martie in Romanian).

The tradition, as the tale goes, started with a red and white string. The person who wore the string, attached to a trinket, would enjoy a healthy and prosperous year. Not to mention the decorative look. I’d wear it for the beauty of it alone. It can be worn in a variety of ways, but most wear it as a brooch.

Mărţişor | Reading After Midnight | Reading After Midnight

According to archeological research, Martisor traces its history some 8000 years ago. Long time, isn’t it? Some researchers believe it has Roman origins, others think it’s an old Dacian tradition (Dacians are the ancestors of modern Romanians).

In old times, Martisors were made of river pebbles, painted in red and white. Good luck, good weather, good health and everything good came to those who wore them.  

I remember in primary school, friends gifting one another the trinkets, pinning them on our lapels, giggling as we admired their colors and shapes. They come in a number of shapes nowadays, from ladybugs to guitars to anything the designer can think of – one more creative than the next.

Martisor, Martisoare, 1 Martie, March 1

I always loved Martisor time, happy in the knowledge good times were ahead since winter was just about gone and spring awaited around the corner.

Over the years, I haven’t kept up with the tradition, but I’m reminded of it every year when the occasional Martisor arrives in the mail.

Tell me your favorite, or least favorite, tradition.


Photo credit: pixabay, reading after midnight

9 responses to “Martisor or Trinket

  1. I used to love Christmas as family and friends came together to celebrate a potluck meal. Our family didn’t have a lot of money so the gifts were mostly things like oranges, candy, odds and ends in our stocking with one gift under the tree. Now Christmas has become so grandiose, I no longer look forward to the day. Also, with a sick husband we are in a small apartment that does not comfortably hold my children and their families. I MISS having my family together – ESPECIALLY now with the pandemic!

  2. What a wonderful tradition! I can very well understand how one can get attached to this custom, especially as it’s at spring time, which is a good moment to look forward to a new year circle. It sounds like a tradition that cannot be heavily commercialised either, beyond the string itself (in all its shapes and models). Or am I wrong there? Are there other merchandise, like teacups, interior decoration, etc too? In that sense it makes me think of Swedish Lucia on 13 December, which is a celebration of light, and comes with singing special songs and eating special cookies, but you don’t have to “buy” things. And the day after, it’s over.

    • There was no commercialization to it, beyond the string gift when I was in Romania, and I think it remained the same. It was over with quickly, and I think you’re right. That was what made it special, the simplicity of it.

  3. Doing catch up here Silvia, what a lovely tradition and pretty ancient too. Here in SA we do have traditions – for the moment I can think only foody ones like bobotie, a cape Malay dish. Things like rusks, buttermilk, milk tart -?

  4. As a kid, I loved searching for four-leaf clovers, which were said to bring good luck. I’d spend hours and hours on a sunny afternoon, enjoying the hunt. I don’t remember actually ever finding one, though. Hmmm. Bet there’s a lesson I should’ve listened to (years ago) in that! :-|

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