Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy First of March!

In certain parts of my country there is a custom associated with the first day of March. It is called "Grandma March" Day. On this day typical red and white tassels, pom-poms or knit (braided) bracelets all known as martinki are exchanged, given to loved ones and they are worn pinned on clothing or tied on the wrist. The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health and prosperity. They are heralds of the coming spring. People wear them until the nature starts to bloom and then hang them on trees.

The symbolism is quite obvious: the white represents the purity of the melting snow while the red is a symbol of life and passion, or in other words they are both great symbols of the constant cycle of life and death, the balance of good and evil, and of the sorrow and happiness in human life.

This custom was not acknowledged in my family although I received martinkas from my friends.
However, today I made some martinkas for my children and I made some pom-poms and tassels to decorate my home. My children enjoyed the time spent making them as well as the story I am to tell bellow.

This is the month of March. Grandma March is the only woman among her 11 brothers (the months of the year). She is seen as an old, ill-humored and snappy woman with highly contrasting moods. The story I promised in my last post goes like this:
A shepherdess was tired of the long, boring winter. One day seeing the skies brighten and the sun caressing the meadows, she decided to take her flock up the mountain in search of fresh grass. On her way she mocked with March, cursing her, calling her names and inviting springtime to hasten and replace the dreary month. March heard the words of the foolish woman and almost being the end of the month she pleaded February to borrow her two or three of his days to punish the foolish shepherdess. February being the youngest, fulfilled her plea. March used the days to force the most fierce snows and storms upon the ungrateful and daft shepherdess and freeze her and her flock.


Vasilka Dimitrovska said...

Среќна Баба Марта, само убавини да ви донесе дома. :)

Vasilka Dimitrovska said...
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Maya Kuzman said...

Thanks the same to you!

just chic said...

I miss this tradition, we also have it in Romania, but ever since I moved away from my home country, I lost contact with it. We call it "martisor" in Romanian :)