Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrating Spring on March 1

Long, long ago the sun would descend into villages as a handsome brave young man so he could dance at wedding parties and holidays. One day a dragon ambushed and jailed him. The whole world grieved. The birds forgot their songs, the murmur of spring ceased, and the singing of young girls and laughter of children turned into deep sorrow. No one dared fight the terrible dragon. However, there was one man brave enough to attempt to set the sun free from the dragon’s prison. Everyone gave him their strength to help in this difficult task. He walked through summer, then through autumn, then the entire frosty winter, until he found the castle of the terrible dragon. A dreadful fight for his life began. They hit each other mercilessly, shedding blood and sweat in the crystal snow. Both the dragon and the man were very strong, both wounded across their chests, arms and shoulders. At last the brave man gained victory as the cruel dragon fell to its death. The victorious man broke the walls of the prison and set the handsome sun free. The sun sprang into the sky. Nature began to revive, and people were glad, but the brave man did not last to see the spring. His warm blood dropped on the snow that began to thaw in the flowers that were growing. The snowdrops gently rocked their petals, heralding the beginning of spring. The last drop of strength and blood fell from the young man’s arm on the first of March, and he closed his eyes and stopped breathing.  Since then, in his memory, all the girls knit two tassels, a white one and red one, as a sign that spring is beginning. The girls present this token to boys of whom they are fond. The token is named Mărţişor, which is the diminutive form of Martie, the first month of spring. The red color stands for love of everything that is beautiful and is the color of the brave man’s blood. The white color symbolizes happiness, health and purity like a gentle and fragile snowdrop, the first flower in spring.  People give each other the Mărţişor on March 1 as a symbol of new life and love. Everybody wears it for the first week of March, though it is not uncommon for it to be worn the entire month. At the end of March the Mărţişor is put on a tree. They say that this will bring a good year and good crops. 
Snowdrop, the first flower of spring.

Celebration of Spring (Mărţişor) – March 1
During the first week of March, many concerts, musicals and entertainment take place to celebrate spring. As a token of love, friendship and greeting, people give and wear small red and white lapel flowers, mostly a handmade decoration, to signify the legend of Mărţişor.

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