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Cheer Up, Spring Is Here!

Cheer Up, Spring Is Here!

The cold weather outside makes us think of the warm days of spring, so I have a suggestion: let’s dream. You just have to close your eyes and imagine that the sun is gently shining, the trees are in bloom and the birds are singing in the tree outside your window.

Romanians celebrate the first day of spring in a unique and special way at the beginning of March. According to the ancient Roman calendar, the 1st of March is the first day of the year and the Romans used to celebrate “Matronalia”, the celebration of Mars, the God of the forces of nature, spring and agriculture. It’s the moment when women receive as gift little inexpensive jewelries – little trinkets, and flowers from men.

You must be wondering what is the trinket that everyone gives to each other. It’s the symbol of spring, of nature that comes back to life. Its shape has changed over time. At first, the trinket was symbolized by a coin, later it took the shape of little river stones painted in white and red. Today it comes in many shapes and colors, it’s made of wool, wood, beads, clay or ceramic. You can offer a trinket shaped as a doll, as a flower, as a bird, as a horseshoe or as a chimney sweeper. Romanians believe that the trinkets that have the shape of a horseshoe or of a chimney sweeper bring good luck to the person that wears it.

Many years ago, the trinket was worn on the wrist or around the neck, just like a necklace but today it is worn as a brooch.

The trinket is worn the entire month and afterwards it is knotted to the branches of a tree. It is believed that the wish made while knotting the trinket to the branch will be fulfilled.  So, in early April, you can be the witness of a unique view: most of the trees in the Romanian villages have colorful trinkets knotted on their branches.

In some villages from Transylvania the special symbols of spring are hung by the doors and windows in order to remove evil spirits.

Despite the changes that the trinket has undergone over time, one detail remains the same: every single one must have two colors, white and red. A little cord with these two colors is attached to the trinket. Why white and red? There is a legend that tells us why. It is said that the Sun came down to Earth, but an evil spirit caught and locked him in a tower.  The birds stopped singing and the whole world stopped laughing. Nobody dared to confront the evil spirit until one day, a brave young man decided to save the Sun. He went to the evil spirit’s castle and they started fighting.  They fought for several days in a row and finally the evil spirit was defeated and the Sun was set free. Unfortunately, the brave young man was seriously injured and as he was lying in the snow, blood poured from his wounds and melted the snow. As the snow was melting, snowdrop flowers appeared.

That is why two cords are braided, a red and a white one. Red symbolizes love, reminding of the young man’s courage and white symbolizes the purity of the snowdrop, spring’s first flower.

Another interesting legend related to the 1st of March is the one about Baba Dochia. She was an old woman who, on the 1st of March decided to take her sheep to the mountains. The warm weather deceived her to undress and she removed her nine waistcoats. When she reached the top of BucegiMountains the cold wind took her by surprise and Baba Dochia was turned into stone together with her herd. She’s been there on the top of the mountain since then, watching over her sheep in order to warn us about the deceitful weather of March.

Now open your eyes. The dawn has arrived and the good part about this dream is that it can become reality. This magic land is waiting for you in the heart of Europe in a small country called Romania. Prepare to be surprised…

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